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Men-in-Black-3I was six when Apollo 11 happened and was incredibly bored by the whole thing. I couldn’t understand why the shows I liked were being preempted for moon launch coverage. The Cape Canaveral takeoff plays a big part in “MIB3” and I felt like I was six again. Not filled with wonder but wishing I was watching something else.

As the third installment opens Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement), a notorious intergalactic serial killer is 40 years into a life sentence. He’s locked away in the only place that will hold him, a super-high security prison on the moon. After a daring escape he plans a full-scale invasion of earth, but first he wants revenge on the man who put him in jail: MIB agent K (Tommy Lee Jones). The only way to thwart Boris’s evil plan is for Agent J (Will Smith) to go back in time to 1969 and stop Boris.

Once every decade or so Will Smith makes a big-budget mistake. He’s the biggest movie star in the world and his charisma is usually enough to save almost any movie he chooses to do. But every now and again he makes a “Wild Wild West” or, this season, “MIB3.” Smith’s got a good track record, but you can’t always hit it out of the park.

There is some good stuff here. If this acting thing doesn’t work out for Brolin he does have a future as a Tommy Lee Jones impersonator. He could do weddings and Bar Mitzvahs and make a fortune. He’s that good.

I also enjoyed Smith literally hurtling through time, Bill Hader’s take on Andy Warhol, the idea that Mick Jagger is an alien sent to the planet to breed with Earth women, Michael Stuhlbarg’s unusual performance as an alien psychic and the battle in the Chinese restaurant. All of these elements were cool, but despite a good bad guy, some cool creatures and Brolin the movie didn’t have the charm or the energy of the first two films.

The magic of the first film is gone. Even the fun stuff in this film seems to evaporate as soon the next scene starts and don’t even get me started about the ending. The attempt at adding in some heart to what should be an oversized sci-fi romp fails miserably.

“Men in Black 3” brings something to the franchise that was missing from the great first film and not even present in the second, lamentable entry in the series. Unfortunately that element is blandness.

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