MRR Movie Review: "Men in Black 2"
Rating: PG-13 (sci-fi action violence and some provocative humor)
Length: 88 minutes
Release Date: July 3, 2002
Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld
Rating: 3 out of 5
Following on from the success of "Men in Black," film studio Amblin Entertainment decided to release a sequel to the delight of many fans. The original film was considered a resounding success, taking in close to $600 million at the box office. The key to this success was the onscreen chemistry between Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, who played the roles of two secret government agents. If a follow-up was going to be just as successful as the original film, securing these two actors for the movie was paramount. Thankfully, both Smith and Jones agreed to reprise their roles of Agent J and Agent K.
Robert Gordon signed on as lead writer and wrote the screenplay for the film. The script was later revised by Barry Fanaro to include some references to popular culture. Initially, the plot was meant to revolve around a love story between Smith's character, Agent J, and Rosario Dawson's character, Laura Vasquez. However, after director Barry Sonnenfeld read over the script, he disagreed with this plan completely and had the script reworked. His reasoning was that audiences prefer to see Will Smith performing in a variety of action sequences alongside Tommy Lee Jones, and spending too much time focusing on the relationship between the two lead characters would get away from the purpose of the film.
Filming for "Men in Black 2" began in the summer of 2001 and ended in August of the same year. After the 9/11 attacks, the climax of the film had to be reworked. In the original ending, the World Trade Center was used as the location for the final action sequences; however, one day after the attacks, a film-studio spokesperson announced that the final scene would be shot again but in a new location. One interesting fact about the filming and production of "Men in Black 2" is that the Mercedes-Benz W211 was used as the primary car for the agents, but the car had not yet been released to the general public in North America.
The initial stages of the film revolve around Agent J, with Agent K nowhere to be seen. In the five years following the first movie, J has now become the lead detective for the MIB. However, since K left, J has gone through a string of partners but hasn't found one suitable enough to work with in the field. Before long, J finds out about an alien plan to destroy the earth. The only way to stop this is to find the Light of Zartha, and the only person who knows how to find it is K.
Agent J sets out to locate former Agent K, but he is aghast to find out that K has been neuralyzed and has no memory of his time with the MIB. K has taken up a job as a postman and is now known as Kevin Brown. As J is trying to help K regain his memory, the MIB headquarters are taken over by Serleena, the Kylothian Queen who wants to take over the earth. The pair escapes and, K begins to recall some of his past. He remembers that the Light of Zartha never made it off planet Earth and is still located somewhere close by.
Meanwhile, Serleena captures Laura Vasquez (Dawson), believing that she knows where the Light is. Agents J and K break into the MIB headquarters, defeat Serleena, and manage to rescue Vasquez. It is at this point that K remembers that if the Light is not sent to the planet Zartha, it will explode and destroy the earth. The pair, along with Vasquez, rushes to the nearest building top, where K reveals that Vasquez is the Light of Zartha. J is not too happy about this, because he has somewhat fallen for Vasquez, but eventually they have no choice, and she is sent back to Zartha.
Although "Men in Black 2" was not as popular as the original film (only making $441 million worldwide), film critics still deemed it a commercial success. For the first two weeks of its release, "Men in Black 2" held the number-one spot at the box office. Not long after the release of the second film, Will Smith suggested to director Barry Sonnenfeld that a third film be made to complete the trilogy. After many years trying to work out conflicts between Smith, Sonnenfeld, and the film studio, a third film began filming in 2010, and "Men in Black III" was released a couple of years later. This film proved to be the most successful of the three, and it led studio bosses to announce that a fourth film would be made sometime in the near future.
We have a review for the latest installment "Men in Black III", click here to see if it measured up!