Men in Black III

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Men in Black III Movie Poster Image
Third alien adventure is fun, less memorable than the first.
  • PG-13
  • 2012
  • 106 minutes
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 20 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 71 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Characters' selflessness saves the Earth, good triumphs over evil, and the virtues of teamwork, sacrifice, and unconditional friendship are extolled via the main characters. That said, problems are often solved via violent means.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The MIB agents are all brave and loyal and willing to sacrifice their safety -- and lives, if necessary -- to save the Earth from the perils posed by aliens.

Violence

A relatively high body count, and most of the dead are aliens disguised as humans. One alien called "Boris the Animal" kills people by releasing deadly dart-like stingers at them. The MIB kill aliens with a space gun that disintegrates them. There's an extended face-to-face battle between Agents J, K, and their alien nemesis. Weapons include regular guns, high-tech space guns, and the monstrous alien creature with the stingers. Expect lots of alien guts and goo.

Sex

One rather graphic kiss (the alien "man" has an exaggeratedly long tongue that a woman sucks on), plus flirting between a male and female agent. A correctional officer makes jokes about conjugal visits and whether a scantily clad woman visiting a prisoner is "clean" or not.

Language

A half-dozen uses of the words "s--t" and "bulls--t," as well as "pissed off," "ass," "damn," "hell," "stupid," "bastard," "oh God," and other mild exclamations. One joke intended to highlight outdated attitudes about race includes the word "darkies."

Consumerism

Christian Louboutin heels are featured in the opening sequence, and many Ford cars are featured in the movie.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Background drinking and smoking at a party set in the '60s scenes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that, like its two predecessors, Men in Black III is part buddy comedy and part alien action/adventure, so there are tons of creeptastic creatures (though fewer than in the original movie), plus interspecies peril and a considerable body count. Several aliens and a few humans are killed in shoot-outs (many involving over-the-top sci-fi weapons), but no one that viewers really care about is killed. The language is occasionally salty ("s--t," "bulls--t," "ass"), but aside from one fairly graphic tongue kiss between an alien and a sexily dressed woman, there's nothing too risque. In the end, good triumphs over evil, and humans prove they're a race worth saving.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byJosephArlo December 28, 2012

COULD NOT WATCH FOR MORE THAN 5 MINUTES!

i am ten and it was very disturbing. i would NOT watch this movie until i am 16! please DON'T torch er your kids by watching it! there are a lot of parts t... Continue reading
Adult Written byage 10+ July 28, 2012
Kid, 11 years old May 26, 2012

genial

es geniiiiiiiiial
Teen, 15 years old Written byLittle movie freak May 27, 2012

What's the story?

In MEN IN BLACK III, Agent J (Will Smith) is now a 14-year veteran of the covert government operation but still can't figure out why K (Tommy Lee Jones) is so closed off about his private life. Then Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) -- an alien that K maimed and arrested in 1969 -- escapes from his lunar prison cell and steals a time-travel device to go back in time and kill the young Agent K (Josh Brolin) in order to successfully enact his plan to destroy Earth, like Boris' race of murderous aliens did to two other planets. After Boris erases K from the present timeline, J must also race to the past to stop the assassination from occurring, or everyone on Earth will die.

Is it any good?

This isn't exactly a show-stopping masterpiece of alien-buddy-comedy-adventures. With few exceptions (the Bourne series, Mission: Impossible), action franchises aren't known for third films that are as critically and popularly regarded as the originals. So it's no surprise -- especially considering that it's been a decade since Men in Black II came out -- that MIB III doesn't hold up all that well. But with that caveat in mind, J and K's return is entertaining enough, even though there aren't nearly as many laughs (or aliens) as in the first film.

What works best in this installment is the addition of Brolin as a young K. He nails Jones' gravelly, laconic style without being nearly as grumpy. He is, after all, four decades younger and less hardened. Brolin and Smith still have the signature odd-couple rapport, but without as much as scowling. And moving the action to 1969 allows for some '60s humor, like the idea that Andy Warhol (SNL regular Bill Hader) is actually a secret agent or that cops would naturally mistake any black man driving a fancy convertible for an athlete, entertainer, or thief. Clement is also particularly funny in the scenes when menacing Boris' past and future selves meet and argue (he should be cast in more movies). Overall, MIB III is a moderately amusing release, but the summer of 2012 belongs to The Avengers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the enduring popularity of the Men in Black series. How are the aliens in these films different than ones portrayed in other sci-fi movies?

  • Do you think popular movies need to keep adding sequels? How do you think the third film compares to the other two? Should the Men in Black franchise end here?

  • Why are odd-couple buddy films so fun to watch? What are some of the best buddy action adventures?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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