Men in Black II 2002
Today I’m gonna be talking about the 2002 sci-fi comedy sequel: Men in Black II. If you’re new here, please consider subscribing for a variety of movie-related content like reviews, ranked lists, and trailer reactions.
All of my reviews include a breakdown of the pros and cons, my rating, and some tailored film recommendations, so be sure to watch through to the end of this video for all of that extra content. Men in Black II stars Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Lara Flynn Boyle, and Rosario Dawson and was directed by Barry Sonnenfeld.
The first Men in Black film was a satisfying self-contained story. Despite all the world-building and character development, I would’ve been fine with just a single film. But, that first movie left the door wide open for a sequel. Unfortunately, we never got that sequel. We got a sequel, it certainly wasn’t the one teased at the end of film number one.Instead, the end of the first film is essentially negated and we ended up with this comparative disappointment of a sequel.
The energy and fun that permeated the first film have been absolutely sucked out of this one. Nobody seems like they were having a good time making it, which makes it really easy to not have a good time watching it. Although I would’ve liked to see Agent L in the role, I can certainly understand why they wanted to bring Agent K back into play. The chemistry between Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones was one of the best parts of the first film. Unfortunately, I don’t think the filmmakers quite understood.
It’s like they thought that simply having both of them in the movie was the key to success, but it’s the relationship and dynamic between them that made the first movie work so well. That aspect of their relationship is missing for a good chunk of this movie due to the plot. Things kinda get flipped on their head and it does open itself up to a slightly different angle of humor, which is admittedly funny at times, but it sorta loses the charm that it had in the original. It feels more like the Will Smith show than a buddy cop partnership.
This movie came out five years later and had a budget that was $50 million more, yet it looks like crap compared to the first movie. Man, I wish we had gotten the sequel that was teased at the end of that one. Let’s talk about the pros and cons. Pro number one is Agent K. We lose most of the humor that stemmed from his partnership with J over-the-top slapstick here, K remains grounded. His dry, humorless personality works really well with the situation they put his character in. It results in quite a few funny moments and his character arc is the highlight of the film. Pro number two is that the movie’s short.
That might sound like a backhanded compliment… and I guess it is. It’s only 88 minutes long, so the film does move along at a pretty brisk pace and doesn’t overstay its welcome too badly. As far as cons go, the most obvious issue is the quality of the special effects. I don’t understand how they regressed so badly from the first movie (with a bigger budget here!), but they’re rough. Yes, it was only 2002, but they were way too confident with the quality of that CGI.
The subway ride with Jeff, little Charlie, and even the worm guys were all noticeably bad. Con number two is the tone. The first film was an energetic and extremely fun sci-fi comedy romp, but this movie barely has a trace of that. It’s campy, not nearly as interesting, and the actors don’t have the same chemistry or sense of fun that they had in the original. Nobody seems like they’re having a good time, so why should we? I’m gonna give Men in Black II 2 out of 5 paws. It’s not a good movie.
It’s an incredibly disappointing follow-up to the very fun first film, yet it still has its moments. They’re few and far between, they prevent this movie from being utter trash. I would be cautious in recommending Men in Black II to many people. If you like slapstick Will Smith, you might enjoy this one because he really hams it up.
If you don’t suffer from that affliction, you could watch and understand the third movie without subjecting yourself to this one. Really, the only important detail that comes out of this fil is that K’s back. If you liked Men in Black II, I would recommend Wild Wild West. There are no aliens and it’s a weird steampunk western, but it’s got Will Smith, a lot of over-the-top characters, and special effects that are frequently on par with this movie.
If Men in Black II is your introduction to the franchise, check out the other two films in the trilogy cause they’re both much better than this. Alright, a couple of questions for you guys. Number one: Have you seen Men in Black II? If so, what’d you think of it? And number two: What do you think is the most disappointing sequel? Let’s ignore direct-to-video releases and just focus on theatrically released sequels. Be sure to leave your answers in the comments below so we can get a discussion going. Alright, so if you got some enjoyment, insight, or information out of this review.