Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Men in Black II (2002)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

Sequels are difficult.  If a movie is successful, there’s pressure to do another one in hopes of making more money.  When the first Men in Black did well, a second MIB was released.  In this installment, we have Agents J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) returning.  For those that didn’t see the first, K had ‘retired’ by having J erase his memories.  K is now Kevin Brown, a Postal worker.  J has gone through a few partners since the end of the last movie.

J has been successful in helping the MIB to defend Earth against aliens and the like.  One day, though, Serleena shows up.  She’s looking for The Light of Zartha.  She finds someone that may know something.  When information isn’t forthcoming, she kills him in front of a hidden witness, Laura Vasquez.  Serleena eventually takes over MIB headquarters looking for answers.  The problem is that only K knows exactly what and where The Light is.  J has to restore K’s memories and fast.

Once done, K reveals that The Light isn’t even supposed to be on Earth.  The Zarthaians came to Earth hoping that the MIB would protect The Light, but it was too dangerous and they refused.  Serleena isn’t willing to accept this.  She’s intent on getting The Light.  If you’ve seen the coming attractions for Men in Black 3, you can assume that J and K save the day.

I’ll admit that Men in Black II does fall into some of the traps common to sequels.  It did seem to rely heavily on characters from the previous movies.  Frank the Pug has an expanded role in this movie, delivering a few funny lines.  Instead of K being the senior officer bringing J into the organization, J is the one telling K what’s what and hoping that he accepts it.

There are new characters, but there is a sense of familiarity.  It was a big action movie with comedic elements.  You have an alien demanding something that the MIB are at a loss to find.  I didn’t mind.  There was enough original material that it seemed new, overall.  Also, you have Rosario Dawson as Laura.  I can’t say I can complain about that.

Men in Black and Men in Black 2 should be watched in order.  You could probably watch this movie first, but you may miss a few things.  It will also ruin certain elements of the first movie that will be ruined if you watch this one first.  They were meant to be watched in order.  (Men in Black 3 doesn’t seem to rely as heavily on these two movies, although I would still recommend watching in order.)  If you liked the first movie, I’d recommend watching this one.

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