Men in Black III



Third alien adventure is fun, less memorable than the first.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Review Date: May 25, 2012
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 106 minutes

What parents need to know

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

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.


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.


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.


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 One joke intended to highlight outdated attitudes about race includes the word "darkies."


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.

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.

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?


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 isn't exactly a show-stopping masterpiece of alien-buddy-comedy-adventures. 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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:May 25, 2012
DVD release date:November 27, 2012
Cast:Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith
Director:Barry Sonnenfeld
Studio:Columbia Pictures
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Space and aliens
Run time:106 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:sci-fi action violence, and brief suggestive content

This review of Men in Black III was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 12 years old May 25, 2012


This movie was really good. There was a lot of violence,some language, and mild sexual content.If your kids can see the first two this one is fine.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 15 years old Written byLittle movie freak May 27, 2012

Men In Black 3 is the best and most fun film in the Men In Black series. This is the most fun I've had at theater since Marvel's The Avengers. This is ACTUALLY the most fun I've had at theater in A LONG TIME! And I am already excited for Men in Black 4!!! :)

The review of Men In Black 3 will be posted soon. I don't when I will post Men In Black 3, but I promise that when I have time, I will make sure that my review of Men In Black 3 will be posted for everyone to look at! :)
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old May 26, 2012


es geniiiiiiiiial
What other families should know
Too much swearing


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide