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In Hollywood, the third time is rarely a charm. For proof, go rent The Godfather Part III, Spider-Man 3, Scream 3, or damn near every other third entry into a previously flawless franchise.

The Men in Black trilogy, however, has gone a different route, derailing a bit with the 2002 disappointment Men in Black II but returning to the original movie's austerity for Men in Black 3. The keys to director Barry Sonnenfeld's success here are flexing some of the year's best visual effects and cleverly casting a spot-on Josh Brolin to play the younger Agent K (played as an older man by Tommy Lee Jones).