When the immensely dangerous Boris the Animal goes back in time and assassinates Men In Black agent ‘K’, he changes the course of human history. His partner ‘J’ has to jump back into the 1960s and team up with the younger version of ‘K’ in order to stop Boris, team up with a multi-dimensional all-future seeing alien, and save the Earth from total destruction.

Men In Black 3 (2012) – Director: Barry Sonnenfeld

Is Men In Black 3 appropriate for kids

Rating: PG

Running Length: 106 mins

Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement

Genre: Action / Adventure, Science Fiction, Comedy

REVIEW

Many perhaps thought that another instalment of the ‘Men In Black’ franchise was not necessary. After all ‘Men In Black 2’ had been an over-indulgent mess that fired at a much more lowbrow target and by golly it hit the bullseye. But in all the places that ‘Men In Black 2’ failed to recapture the chemistry that made ‘Men In Black’ a global success, ‘Men In Black 3’ has somehow managed to evoke the fun factor so effortlessly it is hard to work out how it could ever have gone so wrong before.

Certainly when the words ‘time travel’ are thrown around it may seem like a franchise is becoming desperate, but on this occasion the decision to jump into the 60s and re-invent the relationship between J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones for present day and Josh Brolin for the 60s) managed to breathe a new layer of much-needed freshness into proceedings. Will Smith is reliable as the wise cracking J and Jermaine Clement (better known for being one half of the comedy duo, ‘Flight Of The Conchords’) turns in a devilishly threatening performance as the growling and revenge fuelled ‘Boris the Animal’. However the real star turn here is Josh Brolin as a younger K. His deadpan delivery mixed with more than a dash of sarcasm and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it wry smiles is a treat for fans and newcomers alike.

It is hard to believe that ‘Men In Black 2’ and ‘Men In Black 3’ are directed by the same person. Where the former was crude, too reliant on ‘comedy’ aliens that stopped being funny after 5 minutes and was generally an incoherent mess; the latter is snappy, intelligently witty and, believe it or not, features a genuinely poignant ending that should touch any viewers who have come to care about the characters involved. The men in black are back, and you’ll love them all over again.

IS MEN IN BLACK 3 SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

The majority of ‘Men In Black 3’ is light-hearted and generally appropriate for kids but there are some scenes that we wish to highlight. In particular the first 10 minutes may be a little intense for younger children.

The opening scene shows a young woman (played by Nicole Scherzinger of The Pussycat Dolls) holding a large cake and approaching some prison guards. Her clothes reveal a lot of skin and as the camera focuses on the cake it also shows a large close up of her chest. She goes on to meet Boris the Animal. A large beetle-type creature scuttles up his leg and rests on his wrist. His palm opens up revealing lots of writhing claws and red fleshy insides. The beetle wriggles into his palm and squelches itself into his hand, all in close up.

Boris as a whole has a very intimidating presence. His teeth are razor-sharp and gnarled; he is missing an arm; and much like the beetle climbing into his palm, his skin can separate anywhere into tiny wriggling claw pieces. These burst out his shoes and clamp him to the floor and much later in the film, his face separates while he roars in anger. Also he has permanent black discs where his eyes should be. When the woman meets Boris he unravels a very large tongue. She kisses him and he rolls his tongue into her mouth, poking it into the inside of her cheek which then bulges out. The other characters wince at this comically disgusting moment.

The aforementioned beetle in Boris’ hand becomes his main method of attack. It fires sharp chunky needles and Boris kills many people this way, usually by impaling them in the head or chest. This happens several times throughout the movie but in particular in this opening scene. If your child is alright with the rather scary first appearance of Boris and the violence of these opening 10 minutes, the rest of the film should not be of much concern.

Other types of violence include when J and K visit a Chinese restaurant. A gun fight ensues and each time someone is hit they explode into wet green/blue goo. A character who was introduced in a comedy moment a few minutes ago is shown to be stuck to the wall with various needles from Boris’ beetle, clearly dead. J is attacked by a giant fish and during the fight he rams his hand into the fish’s body and pulls out something like a heart in a comedic but graphic gross-out moment. There is also some mild to moderate bad language during this scene that is most likely not appropriate for young kids.

Lastly there is a moment during J’s ‘time jump’ when he has to leap off a very tall building. As he does this he sees flashes of other time periods, including the Wall Street Crash. During this he looks to his side and sees men in suits falling with him, the implication clearly being that they are committing suicide.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

Men In Black 3’ brings a much-needed sense of fun back into the franchise and at the same time treats its audience with a higher level of respect than the knuckle scraping ‘Men In Black 2’. In terms of suitability for children, almost all of the ‘strongest’ content is contained in the opening scene with Boris and the Chinese restaurant and so these are good gauges of how well your child will deal with the film. Due to Boris’ threatening nature, the amount of incidental characters killed close up and the smattering of mild to moderate bad language (which is infrequent) we would suggest that this film is not appropriate for children aged 8 and under.

  • Violence:  3/5
  • Emotional Distress: 2/5 (the ending scene is touching but more likely to affect adults more than children)
  • Fear Factor: 3/5 (Boris is quite a scary figure but can also be quite comic in his mannerisms and frustrations)
  • Sexual Content: 1/5       
  • Bad Language: 3/5
  • Dialogue: 1/5 (Some threatening language, some very mild innuendo)
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of friendship, pre-destination, vengeance and protecting the public.

Words by Mike Record

Men in Black 1-3 (DVD + UV Copy) [1997]


New From: £8.59 GBP In Stock

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