Brace yourself! Agents J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) are back, and this time they're time-traveling not only to save the planet but also to discover some uncanny revelations about their relationship.

The story begins in Manhattan, where curious Agent J realizes how little he really knows about his taciturn partner, Agent K -- and that coincides with the escape of a ferocious alien, Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement), whom K incarcerated 40 years earlier. Since Boris has managed to time-travel back to wreak revenge on Agent K in 1969, Agent J must jump off the Chrysler Building to join him in the past. At first, it's not easy for smooth-talking Agent J to convince affable young Agent K (James Brolin) that he's back from the future but, when he does, they're off on an incredible retro-adventure that takes them from Coney Island to the Mets' historic game at Shea Stadium to Cape Canaveral for the Apollo 11 moon launch.

Shrewdly reconceived by Etan Cohen as a prequel to reveal the origin of the black-suited buddies' friendship, it's sharply directed by Barry Sonnenfeld ("Men in Black I&II," "Addams Family"). While Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are an iconic duo, it takes an adroit actor to interpret, as opposed to impersonate, and James Brolin meets the caricature challenge, multiplying the agents' chemistry times three.

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As the menacing, maniacal villain, Jemaine Clement embodies Boris the Animal, the last of the Boglodites, whose hand contains a hideous symbiotic henchman who fires deadly harpoons. There's Michael Stuhbarg as Griffin, a soft-spoken, prophetic alien, who visualizes multiple realities; Emma Thompson as O, the new MIB chief; Bill Hader as artist Andy Warhol in his fabled Factory; plus Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber cameos.

Combine those weird elements with Bo Welch's sleek production design, Rick Baker's inventive aliens, Mary Vogt's costumes and Ken Ralston's fantastic VFX for an awesome environment.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Men in Black 3" is an engrossing, entertaining 8, sizzling with comedy, suspense and intrigue.