We polled our entire team and ranked every Men In Black film across six categories. We weighted each category based on their overall value to the success of the movie.
Plot - 25%
Character Development - 20%
Villain - 20%
Action - 12.5%
Intangibles - 12.5%
Supporting Cast - 10%
Film: Men In Black
Release Date: July 2, 1997
Rotten Tomato - TOMATOMETER: 92%
Rotten Tomato - Audience: 79%
Opening Weekend: $51,068,455
Gross US: $250,690,539
Gross Worldwide: $587,790,539
Synopsis: A police officer joins a secret organization that polices and monitors extraterrestrial interactions on Earth
Analysis: There is a whole universe out there looking to vacation on Earth and they need policing while they are here. The process of new recruit to side kick to equal partner comes quick to Agent J as he and Agent K navigate through a buggy situation. A few unnecessary side arcs and an expedited timeline slightly take away from otherwise creative and funny story line.
Analysis: From a wise cracking New York City cop to a lead agent at the Men In Black happens a little too quick and easy for a guy like James who chooses to shoot a little girl over a room full of aliens. On the other side of the "marble", Agent K moves just as quickly from "younger" partner, to lead agent and teacher to J, to retired and not remembering a single thing about the Men In Black during that same timeline. These transitions happen a little too smoothly and at an expedited pace for an organization policing all alien life forms on Earth.
Name: Edgar the Bug
Bio: Farmer turned cockroach, give me some sugar ... and water ... more sugar.
Evil Plan: Every time you stepped on an ant, every time you threw a spider into the fire, every time you swatted a fly, he remembers and this is his payback. To do this he must get the most precious marble, but he is greedy and eats it so he does not have to share with others.
Analysis: Smart move not showing his true form and taking the skin of a human that we learn to hate in such a short period of time early in the story. Once in his new suit, his behaviors and mannerisms become more and more unhinged and unnerving as the movie goes on which fits perfect with a giant cockroach. Outside of coming off a little too dimwitted to lead a venture to steal a galaxy and not being a major player in the crime scene according to MIB records, what could be a better villain for an alien police force in New York City than a giant bug? Well, maybe a giant rat, but they already have those living in the subway.
Now This Is A Story All About How My Life Got Flipped Turned Upside Down
Agent Patches O'Houlihan
Agent Damz L
Who Let The Frank Out
Honey I Shrunk My Head
Analysis: Agent K and Agent J are the perfect paring of elderly vet that plays by the rules and new young blood that is full of life and 90's spirit. This dynamic duo paired up with an out of this world cast full of comic relief, recognizable skin suits and never before seen extra terrestrial life forms brought from outer space right into our homes. That being said, some of the alien acting was a little bland and the comedy dry, but that almost played right into the overall feel of this space movie.
Analysis: How can you go wrong with giant space guns and enormous amounts of alien guts. Even when J shot the Noisy Cricket that sent him flying backwards as he missed the exterminator truck, the explosions were great. On top of that, they didn't overplay it with the final battle. When have you seen a hero choose to be eaten just to blow up the big baddie from the inside? Oh, and did I mention the giant space guns used to shoot down the space ship flying over Shea Stadium? Overall, all of the action was visually pleasing and done in a familiar, but unique way for a Sci-Fi film.
Analysis: You grab one of the biggest rising stars in comedy of the decade in Will Smith and pair him with an already seasoned and well known vet in Tommy Lee Jones and you are bound for success. That on top of taking a popular topic of the decade (space) and popular topic of the previous decade (police) and marrying them together with a comedic overtone was a perfect fit for the atmosphere of the 90's. Add a killer theme song by said rising star and you already have half the battle won.
The dry comedy and eccentric visuals created some of the best comedic and memorable moments of the film.
You wanna get down on this?
Pop goes the head
The dog owes my friend money
Analysis: A solid start to a new franchise with no back story. They knew when to test the limits and when to rely on what works. The cool suave performance by Will Smith and the professional and knowledgeable performance by Tommy Lee Jones made me want to check every elevator I entered look for that secret button going down so that I could join the Men In Black. Plus outside of Wild Wild West and the Fresh Prince theme song, Here Come the Men In Black is one of the most iconic Will Smith songs and theme songs of the decade.
Now just look right here for me...
Image Credits: Columbia