Men in Black (Franchise)

4 – Men in Black II; Men in Black II is a disappointment of a sequel to say the least. Story-wise, it appears Sonnenfeld (Director) wanted to basically do the same thing as the first film – but had to retcon K’s retirement. That retcon is one that, unfortunately, takes up a large majority of the film and in doing so, holds back the previous chemistry between Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith.  On top of that, a majority of the humor is low-brow – with jokes and gags that barely land at best. Moreover, there’s a twist towards the finale that is simply unnecessary and therefore has little impact. The combination of all these lackluster pieces make for a rough watch and easily the franchise’s worst flick. Cinemaster Score: 4.5/10

3 – Men in Black: International; Men in Black: International was the series’ best chance at revitalizing audience’s interests. Unfortunately, the film failed in almost every way to live up to its predecessors (excluding Men in Black II of course). Of all the film’s aspects, the only thing that stands out is the acting from Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson doing the best they can with what they’re given. In contrast, the script is lackluster at best – providing very little to indulge in. The story also appears to offer more of the same, with the addition of inconsistent pacing and focus. The characters aren’t so easy to like and mostly, are just more of the same: one skilled but cocky, the other professional and focused. Men in Black: International spoiled its opportunity to bring anything really new and outside of the modern visuals and different actors, the film is an unenjoyable attempt at franchise revival. Cinemaster Score: 6/10

2 – Men in Black; Men in Black was a smash hit when it released in 1997, and for good reason. Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith’s strong chemistry is a highlight of the the film in particular, with their performances stealing the spotlight in nearly every scene. Men in Black is also responsible for showing the power of blending practical and CG effects to near perfect results. Every creature and monster is given a unique personality and is vividly detailed in so many ways. By making the aliens in Men in Black more human, the film allows us to relate to them in ways previous movies never had. Aliens have always been the “bad guys” in these kinds of movies, but Men in Black turned the idea on its head when they introduced some of the most likable alien characters in cinema history. Because of this unique perspective, Men in Black is rightfully seen as a landmark sci-fi film. Cinemaster Score: 7/10

1 – Men in Black III; It was difficult, but there’s no denying that Men in Black III (while having nowhere near the impact of the original) is the superior film in this over twenty year running franchise. Will Smith is perhaps at his very best here in this wild and insanely creative threequel, as he fully embraces his role with great physicality and well-timed humor. As for Tommy Lee Jones, he gives a more subtle performance in Men in Black III in order to better give light to Josh Brolin’s character (which is strange considering they are one in the same character). However, what really pushed Men in Black III above the rest is its unflinching originality and its strong respect for series mythology. From the inventive villains and ambitious plot, to the incredible performances that drive the film, Men in Black III is an excellent film all around. Cinemaster Score: 7.5/10

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