Men in Black

SF elements: aliens secretly on earth, conspiracy theory

  1. Men in Black (1997)
  2. Men in Black II (2002)
  3. Men in Black III (2012)


Men in Black

Saving humanity from the scum of the universe

[A Scum of the Universe] Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith are "Men in Black", ultra-secret agents ensuring that ordinary people never realise that various aliens are visiting the earth, and ensuring that those aliens obey the law. Now there's trouble: a giant bug with an attitude is on the loose, and another bunch of aliens are threatening to destroy the earth.

[A new baby] MiB is a bit slow in places, and rather thin on plot, but the various gags are deliciouslywitty, rather than the usual second-rate slapstick that seems to pass for humour these days. The special effects are different and clever, and Smith and Jones play it serious and wonderfully deadpan, which is the only way to do this style of comedy well. A superior send-up of all those alien-invader government-conspiracy movies.

Rating: 3

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 22 August 1997


Men in Black II

Same planet. New scum.

[They're back] Five years on, and Jay [Will Smith] is now a mature and respected agent at MiB, while the neuralysed retired Kay [Tommy Lee Jones] is living a happy life in a rural Post Office. But now there's trouble: a McGuffin happens, so Kay must be brought back, and deneuralysed, to Save the World.

Somewhat faster paced than the original (there's none of that slightly tedious "naive Jay in training"), but even thinner on plot (it's essentially just a straight line chase), and rather less of a send-up, yet there are still enough good scenes, and references to the original, to make this a fun way to while away an evening.

Rating: 3.5

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 27 August 2002

2012 / TV

Men in Black III

They are back... in time.

[Boris the Animal]

Agents Jay [Will Smith] and his grumpy partner Kay [Tommy Lee Jones] are still saving the earth from the scum of the universe. But then Boglodite Boris the Animal escapes from a high security prison on the moon, where he has been ever since the young agent Kay [Josh Brolin] arrested him in 1969, after shielding the earth with the ArcNet. Boris swears vengeance, time-travels back to 1969, and kills Kay. Jay is the only one who remembers Kay in the altered time line, and has himself to go back to 1969 to save him, and also save the now-unshielded earth from imminent destruction by a Boglodite space fleet.

I generally like time travel plots, with their potential for complexity, and essential non-linear structure, and this witty variant is no exception. It has all the usual humour of the MiB series, with lovely little references about 1960s culture (models, Andy Warhol, and more), included in a fun and fast moving plot.

Rating: 3

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 22 December 2014