Spies, aliens, conspiracies, oh my! If one thing’s for sure, it’s that the Men in Black series is one of the few to seamlessly combine every aforementioned element together. From its start as a comic, to the present day, the franchise has made more than a few of us question if us humans aren’t the only head honchos of this planet. Regardless, the Men in Black series has been successful enough to spawn four films, all of varying quality. Although some probably prefer I rank them all together, the title requires I go from worst to best, so I will oblige. Without further ado, here are the Men in Black films ranked!
4. Men in Black: International (2019)
Spinoffs are risky business and don’t always pan out as planned. That definitely was the case for Men in Black: International, which saw Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson as Agent H and M respectively. As usual, the men, er, people in black this time, must deal with a nefarious alien and save the day. Does this sound tired? That is because it very much is.
Overall, Men in Black: International is forgettable, uninspired and lacking in much fun. Although there are some good interactions between the leads, they make up for the lackluster plot.
3. Men in Black 2 (2002)
I feel guilty ranking this one as the second-worst film, but when the next two are fantastic and this one is merely very good, it’s only fair. Immediately after the first film, wisecracking Agent J (Will Smith) is forced to deal with a slew of inept partners after Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) retired at the end of the previous film. But after a new threat arises, J and K reunite and must take on the newest alien menace. Can they save the day or will they get a black mark on their records?
There is nothing particularly bad about Men in Black 2. It’s immensely fun, the action sequences are exciting and there are many laughs to be had. As I said, however, it doesn’t contain the emotional heft of the next two movies, which is why it ends up here.
2. Men in Black (1997)
Yes, you read that correctly. The very first Men in Black is indisputably a classic, just that the third film does a few things SLIGHTLY better. But don’t despair, as I have nothing negative to say about the film that started it all.
When alien menaces are proving to be too much for the aging agent K (Jones), rookie cop James Edwards (Smith) is recruited into the titular organization. After being debriefed on everything from its history to its mission, the newly christened Agent J must team up with K to defeat an alien terrorizing New York. Can the mismatched duo thwart the threat?
Men in Black is a fantastic beginning to the iconic series, with great comedic timing between the leads, a thoughtful plot and some great special effects. It’s a classic through and through and only will grow better with age.
1. Men in Black 3 (2012)
Behold, the best film in the Men in Black franchise. After a ten year hiatus, the series returned with an absolute bang, the stars with no less energy or dedication than before. When an alien prisoner from Agent K’s past escapes the compound it’s held at, a rift forms between J and K. Chaos erupts and J is forced to solve it, via time travel. Can he navigate through 1968 and defeat the enemy, both past and present?
Men in Black 3 is easily the best film in the franchise. It has the usual action and comedy we’ve come to expect, but also an emotionally gripping plot that makes us empathize with the characters in a way we hadn’t before. Without a doubt, it is a great film.