Men in Black 2 doesn’t have same magic

Agent Jay (Will Smith) and his partner Agent Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) in Columbia Pictures' Men in Black 2.

Men in Black 2 unfortunately suffers at the core as the sequel just doesn’t quite have the same magic as its predecessor.

The first film ends with Agent J (Will Smith) getting a new partner in Agent L.  As anyone could probably guess, this was too good to be true.   Eventually, we’re going to see Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) again.  This is not a matter of if but when.  But before he can go under the deneuralyzer and get his memories back, there’s a breach at MIB headquarters.  Of course there is!  They just have to make it just a bit harder for us to get the old K back.  That’s the thing.  The first film worked so well because of their chemistry.  We are forced to wait even longer for the reunion during the second go-around.  It’s a bitter disappointment to say the least.

What brings K back into the fold is the arrival of Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle).  She’s after a light left behind by Princess Lauranna.  We get the history of the film by way of a Peter Graves-hosted clip of Mysteries in History.  The clip may seem like its fun to watch but wholly unnecessary.  What we do know is that Laura Vasquez (Rosario Dawson) works at a pizza parlor.  She doesn’t know that her boss is an alien.  This only comes to fruition when Serleena comes asking for the Light of Zartha.  It almost feels recycled because of how Edgar was searching for the galaxy.  Honestly, the script could have used another pass so as to make sure they weren’t repeating storylines here.  The big difference being that J has a romantic interest in Laura.  It makes perfect sense for J to not erase her memories.

There are certainly some things to like about watching Men in Black 2.  Among them, we get to see the worms play a larger role.  The other part, which does wear thin after a while, is a larger role for Frank the Pug.  There’s only so much that can be done here but not even an increased role can save the film.  We are spending so much time before K comes back into the picture.  Yes, I like some of the things but we don’t get classic K back until it’s too late.

Men in Black 2 could certainly benefit from a lot more of what made the first film so fun.

DIRECTOR:  Barry Sonnenfeld
SCREENWRITERS:  Robert Gordon and Barry Fanaro
CAST:  Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Lara Flynn Boyle, Johnny Knoxville, Rosario Dawson, Tony Shalhoub, and Rip Torn

Columbia Pictures opened Men in Black 2 in theaters on July 3, 2002. Grade: 3/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.