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Movie Review

Men in Black 3 also known as “Men in Black III,” “MIB3”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, and brief suggestive content.

Reviewed by: Daniel Thompson

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Sci-Fi Action Comedy Sequel
1 hr. 46 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
May 25, 2012 (wide—4,000+ theaters)
DVD: November 30, 2012
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures
Aliens (extraterrestrials)

What does the Bible say about intelligent life on other planets? Answer

Are we alone in the universe? Answer

Does Scripture refer to life in space? Answer

questions and answers about the origin of life

time travel

saving the world from disaster

Featuring: Will SmithAgent J
Tommy Lee JonesAgent K
Emma ThompsonAgent O
Josh BrolinYoung Agent K
Alice Eve … Young Agent O
Bill HaderAndy Warhol
Lady Gaga … Alien on TV Monitors
Tim BurtonAlien on TV Monitors
Justin Bieber … Alien on TV Monitors
more »
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Producer: Amblin Entertainment
Hemisphere Media Capital
more »
Distributor: Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures

“Back in time”

I’ll admit it; I may not be the best person to write an unbiased review of a “Men in Black” film. After all, I was but an 8th grader when the franchise began. That 1997 film was an 8th grader’s dream movie: funny, hip, gross, and more special effects than the law allowed. For better and for worse, I loved the original “Men in Black”. I realized my fondness for the film when I saw “Men in Black II” five years later. This sequel was universally panned by critics, but I still enjoyed seeing the characters back on the big screen. I also realized that my overzealous opinion of the original was a product of my age, but fifteen years later I was still more than happy to strap in for another adventure with the defenders of the galaxy, Agent J and Agent K. I am happy to report that both myself and the 8th grade version of me are thrilled with the results of “Men in Black III”, which comes close to equaling the sheer fun of the first installment.

Boris, aka “The Animal”, is one bad alien. He is so villainous, so vile, and so powerful, that a prison had to be constructed just to hold him. This prison is so big that it was constructed on the moon after Agent K arrested him in 1969. 33 years later, Boris has finally escaped. After his escape, Boris only has one thing on his mind: Revenge. His plan is to travel back in time to kill Agent K, thus freeing him from prison and allowing his species to conquer planet Earth. Before this can happen, Agent J has to travel back in time to stop Boris and save his partner, as well as all the memories that have occurred during their fifteen year partnership.

While time travel is a conceit that has been overdone in movies, when it is done right, it can still work. Fortunately, the plot of “Men in Black III” is airtight and well constructed. While the second film seemed to be made up as it progressed, there is a central mystery in this installment that anchors the exposition in a way that intrigues the viewer. Also, the chemistry of the three leads is excellent. I say three leads, because Will Smith’s Agent J has to play both off of modern day Agent K, Tommy Lee Jones, as well as 1969 Agent K, played by Josh Brolin. Brolin is excellent in the part, and his portrayal goes past an impersonation. Boris, played by Jemaine Clement, is effectively villainous while also being quite humorous.

Unlike my 8th grade self, I understand that the “Men in Black” series is not perfect and does, in fact, have flaws and limitations. As far as content goes, “Men in Black III” is similar to the previous two films, although it may be a little cleaner. There are no f-words, but milder profanities do fill the screen, along with a handful of uses of God’s name. There are a few women in revealing clothing, but no sexual situations and very little sexual dialog. The film is, at heart, a “creature feature”, which results in some interesting looking aliens, but also some gross-out moments and scary figures. The film earns its PG-13 rating and is not for younger children.

The pleasant surprise of this third installment is the film’s heart. Telling any specifics would give some great surprises away, but suffice it to say that the dynamic between Agent K and Agent J is the result of a deep, sacrificial bond. Friendship is championed as well as sacrifice. Honesty is also, surprisingly, given a strong nod in the film, which is the most redemptive of the series.

We all have movies that we love, not necessarily because of their quality, but because of when we saw them. Another way to put it is that not every movie is for every person. The same can be said about the entire “Men in Black” series, and specifically the third installment. It’s light, summer fun with a heart. It’s also occasionally profane and can get a bit sticky. Moviegoers who are uninitiated to the series will probably find little to enjoy here. Fans of the first film, however, will be more than rewarded for joining J and K on another adventure. And it’s to those people, and to my 8th grade self, that I say, “Suit Up.”

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—Overall, this was a fun movie and had an excellent ending. Unfortunately, the first scene of the movie was disgusting, with one alien placing his tongue in the mouth of another alien. After that scene, it was an entertaining film with a nice message of friendship and loyalty. My husband and I both enjoyed the film; it is just unfortunate that the first scene was included.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—C. Nelson, age 51 (USA)
Positive—“Men In Black 3” is, in my opinion, one of the best in the trilogy, so far. The original was good, the second wasn’t as good, but the third really was the best thus far. It had a brand new, ORIGINAL story, fantastic performances, an excellent story, even some humor (mainly for adults, but some children may find it funny). I loved this film. All I have to say is that I can’t wait until they make a “Men In Black 4,” if they make one. Congratulations Spielberg and company. You did a great job!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Alexander Malsan, age 22 (USA)
Positive—If you liked the first two installments, you’ll probably like this one as well. It had a good storyline and lots of action, but the curse words are unnecessary, and do get in the way. The good thing is that there is no nudity, no blood, and there are no bedroom scenes. Unfortunately, nowadays we can’t expect a PG-13 secular movie to be up to our Christian standards. If we as Christians were to truly hold to the standard of “love not the world,” we would probably be like Mr. Flanders on “The Simpsons” when it comes to cable TV, and only be able to go see one or two movies per year. I guess that’s why some churches don’t allow their members to go to the movies, at all.

If you are sensitive to foul language, aliens, mild violence, and the like, maybe you should skip this one. Movies that are PG-13 usually carry that rating for a reason. When considering taking the kids to see this one, we have to walk the fine line of trying to teach our kids without having them feel deprived, the latter of which will only increase the desire for the forbidden fruit. Just keep in mind that they probably hear more curses than this on a daily basis in school. If the kids are over 13, and already have a strong biblical foundation, they should be OK.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Frank, age 43 (USA)
Positive—Liked it even better the second time. Interesting plot and characters, excellent acting. Could’ve done without the alien French kiss and the language, although less swearing than in MIB II. Josh Brolin was amazing as young agent K/Tommy Lee Jones. Fun.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Tori, age 40+ (USA)
Positive—After a few initial cuss words and an alien French kiss (more comical than offensive), this movie was fantastic. It’s been a long time since I saw the first MIB, but I daresay this one was as good, if not better. It has a wonderful moral, and illustrates it well. This is the best movie I’ve seen in a long time, and would recommend it heartily for anyone who can weather a few cuss words early on (there might have been a little more later, but nothing you wouldn’t hear on an average day flipping through the channels).
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Alex, age 39 (USA)
Positive—While I understand the negative comments-and I can not disagree with the issues raised-this installment was toned down a bit. Well, with the exception of the opening scene which can make you squirm and nauseated at the same time, It is also not a good idea to be on the front row ow an IMAX 3D. As with all the “Men in Black,” it is a bit fast moving. A bit like a simulator. But the actors did a good job; Will Smith is, well, Will Smith. But you do leave feeling very good and hope that this is the last installment. It is a good way to end it! One of my top 5 movies for the year so far, in spite of moments of “yuck!”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Dorell Proshek, age over 50 (USA)
Positive—The first scene in the movie almost caused me to walk out. It was not needed in any way and was gross. Otherwise, the movie was a typical “Men in Black,” but with an added dimension of time travel, leading to a very heart wrenching scene of Agent J with his father’s watch. Overall I would go see it again.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—David, age 70 (USA)
Neutral—I made the colossal mistake of taking my two young sons to this movie. I just didn’t remember the first two being too objectionable. Well, within the first couple of minutes, I realized they weren’t going to be able to watch this movie. There was a lot of needless swearing…, and the opening scene in the prison was not good. Luckily, it was the second movie at the drive-in, so the kids fell asleep right away. The movie itself was not bad. The story was good, and I liked the way they incorporated agent K into the timeline. There was enough action to keep one interested, as well. It is a shame that the writers felt they needed to add all the bad words and sexuality to the movie. It would have been so much better without it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Jason, age 37 (USA)
Negative—I took my wife to this movie last weekend, based on the early positive responses I read, which I now regret. I don’t write in and comment, but I feel I must here, as I saw kids around me during the movie. Please do not take your family to this movie. Find something else, instead. While there was action and good graphics, there was simply too much swearing to overcome. Not a word or two, but unnecessarily sprinkled throughout. If people were speaking in your home this way, you would ask them to leave, so why spend your hard earned money to hear people say things you don’t want your family to hear? Certainly not for children nor teenagers either. It is a shame really, because the movie actually had a good ending, but again the language and inferences are too much to overcome. Pray about it, and please see something else.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Steve, age 43
Negative—I made the mistake of taking my two daughters, ages 12 and 7, to see this movie, but, fortunately, when we left about 20 minutes into it, we received a full refund (without requesting one) from an attentive manager. The movie opens with the very grotesque primary villain breaking out of prison before transitioning to an Asian restaurant full of equally grotesque alien employees. Both scenes are full of profanity, and images that are scary and disgusting, especially for children. There was also the funeral of a deceased MIB agent where small aliens sing a rendition of “Amazing Grace,” but changed the words. This was supposed to be funny, but I found it to be very offensive.

It is definitely a step in the wrong direction from the first two MIB shows. Don’t waste your time and money on this movie, and be sure to protect your children’s hearts and minds from it, as well.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Greg Terra, age 47 (USA)
Negative—I would have to disagree with the gentleman that reviewed this movie when he said “it may be a little cleaner…”. …In the first movie, or in the second, if I remember correctly, I don’t remember a prostitute-looking woman for the first five minutes of the movie “waddling”… showing every possible view of the woman, including her cleavage, black leather skirt that barely covered her behind, looked like the outfit was painted on, and spike high heel boots. Cleaner? I don’t think so. If you can’t even watch the first 5 minutes without feeling like you’re watching a prostitute walking down your street, how in the world can you get past that as a Christian?

Yes, there was language. Yes, there were crude terms used for genital parts… all that is true. But why should you sit through the smut to get to a better story-line… especially if you have your “teen” children with you? The Lord doesn’t want us allow these things to be placed before our eyes; how is it, that because the movie was enjoyed so much when he was in 8th grade that the whole beginning of the movie wasn’t even mentioned? We tell our Christian daughters/granddaughters to dress modestly, as to not cause a Brother to stumble… but when someone (who DID rate it as offensive, I will give that) doesn’t even bother to mention what this would do to teenage boys… let alone men, in general, that disturbs me. I LOVE sci-fi. I also LOVED “Men in Black” 1. Because we have a TV Guardian that takes out the foul language, we could enjoy it. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Debbie Senese, age 49 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—This movie was really good! It was very well done—funny, a little suspenseful, excellent acting. The plot was great; too. It wasn’t just another sequel that didn’t have a plot and wasn’t as good as its predecessors. It had an excellent new plot, introduced new characters, threw in some new and awesome MIB technology—and voilà! Amazing new movie. The only thing I did not like about it was the gross and unnecessary alien kissing scene, near the beginning.

I did see it in 3D; it was really amazing in a couple of scenes, but I’m not sure if it was worth the extra money.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Claire, age 15 (USA)
Negative—I have a sister aged 13, our response to this movie is rather brief. We got to the alien French kiss, and we both looked away grossed out and asked to watch something else. We don’t get why that had to be in the movie, it felt “adult” to us.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Pj, age 11 (Australia)

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