Men in Black II

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Men in Black II
Two men in black suits, sitting in egg shaped chairs, holding large guns
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBarry Sonnenfeld
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story byRobert Gordon
Based onThe Men in Black
by Lowell Cunningham
Music byDanny Elfman
CinematographyGreg Gardiner
Edited by
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • July 3, 2002 (2002-07-03)
Running time
88 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$140 million[1]
Box office$441.8 million[1]

Men in Black II (stylized as MIIB) is a 2002 American science fiction action comedy film directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and starring Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Lara Flynn Boyle, Johnny Knoxville, Rosario Dawson, Patrick Warburton, Tony Shalhoub and Rip Torn. The film is a sequel to the 1997 film Men in Black and was followed by Men in Black 3, released in 2012. This series of films is based on the Malibu / Marvel comic book series The Men in Black by Lowell Cunningham. A video game partly based on the film was released in 2002 titled Men in Black II: Alien Escape.[2]


Five years after the retirement of Agent K and the defeat of Edgar the Bug from Men in Black, the secret New York City-based agency that monitors and regulates extraterrestrial life residing on Earth, Agent J–K's former partner and hand-picked replacement–is called to investigate the murder of an alien, Ben, at his pizzeria. The waitress, Laura Vasquez, tells him that the murderers are Serleena, a shapeshifting, plant-like Kylothian who has taken the form of a lingerie model, and her two-headed servant Scrad. Laura says they were looking for something called the Light of Zartha. J is strongly attracted to Laura, and in violation of MiB rules, does not neuralyze her to erase her memories.

J finds that little is known about the Light of Zartha, except that it is immensely powerful. As he investigates the crime, every lead points to his mentor, Agent K, who was neuralyzed upon retirement and remembers nothing of his MiB service. In Truro, Massachusetts, where K is now the town's postmaster, J convinces him by proving that all of his fellow postal workers are aliens. Back in New York City, Serleena and Scrad launch an attack on MiB headquarters before K's neuralyzation can be reversed, but Jack Jeebs has an illegal deneuralyzer in his basement. K regains his memories, but remembers that years before, he neuralyzed himself specifically to erase what he knew of the Light of Zartha, and those memories have not returned. As a precaution, he left himself a series of clues.

At the pizzeria, they find a locker key. J hides Laura, who fears for her safety, with worm aliens. The key opens a locker in Grand Central Station where a society of tiny aliens, who worship K as their deity, guard their most sacred relics: K's wristwatch and video store membership card. At the video store, as J and K watch a fictionalized story of the Light of Zartha, K remembers the Zarthan Queen Laurana long ago entrusted Men in Black with safeguarding the Light from her nemesis, Serleena, who followed Laurana to Earth and killed her. After hiding the Light, K neuralyzed himself to ensure that he would never reveal its hiding place. K still cannot remember where he hid it, nor what the Light actually looks like; he only remembers that it must return to Zartha soon, or both Earth and Zartha will be destroyed.

At the worms' apartment, they find that Laura has been kidnapped by Serleena, who believes that Laura's bracelet is the Light. J, K, and the worms counterattack MiB headquarters, freeing Laura and the other agents. Serleena attempts to retaliate by chasing them with a spaceship through New York but is eaten by Jeff, a gigantic worm alien living in the New York City Subway.

Laura's bracelet leads J and K to the roof of a skyscraper where a ship stands ready to transport the Light back to Zartha. The two realize Laura is the daughter of Laurana, and is herself the Light. K convinces J and Laura that she must go to Zartha, to save both her planet and Earth from destruction. Serleena, who has assimilated Jeff and taken his form, attempts to snatch the ship carrying Laura as it lifts off, but J and K blast her out of the sky. Since all of New York City has just witnessed this battle in the skies over the metropolis, K activates a giant neuralyzer in the torch of the Statue of Liberty.

Back at headquarters, K and Men in Black Chief Zed, hoping to cheer up a heartbroken J, have relocated the tiny locker-dwelling aliens who worship him to his Men in Black locker. When J suggests showing the miniature creatures that their universe is bigger than a locker, K shows J that the human universe is itself a locker within an immense alien train station.




Despite some initial involvement from David Koepp (who left to work on Panic Room and Spider-Man),[3] the script was written by Robert Gordon and later revised by Barry Fanaro (who added pop culture references, something which Gordon had deliberately avoided).[4] Sonnenfeld took issue with the producers' focus on the love story between Will Smith's and Rosario Dawson's characters, saying that "I learned on Wild Wild West that audiences didn't want to see Will as the straight man. And until Tommy comes back into the movie, by definition Will's the straight man." Fanaro condensed the first part of the film and brought Agent K in earlier.[3]

Principal photography began on June 11, 2001 and ended on September 23, 2001. The climax of the story was originally filmed against a backdrop of the twin towers of the original World Trade Center; but after the September 11 attacks, the climactic scene was refilmed. Other scenes incorporating views of the twin towers likewise had to be edited, or reshot.[5]

Supervising sound editor Skip Lievsay used a Synclavier to recreate and improve the original recording of the neuralyzer sound effect from the first film (which was the sound of a strobe flash as it recycles) by removing some distortion.[6] For some of the scenes with the Serleena creature, the sound crew "took tree branches, put them inside a rubber membrane and pushed that around and added some water."[6] For the special effects scene where the subway train is attacked by Jeff the Worm, a specially designed vise was used to crush a subway car and make it look as if it had been bitten in half.[4]


The motion picture soundtrack to Men In Black II was released on June 25, 2002 by Columbia Records.[7]

1."Worms Lounge 1 (Worms in Black)"Danny Elfman5:20
2."Logo"Danny Elfman0:22
3."Titles"Danny Elfman5:01
4."Big Jeff"Danny Elfman2:25
5."Headquarters"Danny Elfman1:52
6."Chop-Chop"Danny Elfman2:00
7."Heart Thump"Danny Elfman1:51
8."Customs"Danny Elfman0:51
9."Hunting For K"Danny Elfman1:41
10."J Nabbed / K's Back"Danny Elfman2:20
11."The Real Story"Danny Elfman1:41
12."Sleuthing"Danny Elfman2:21
13."The Defense Begins"Danny Elfman2:47
14."The Chase"Danny Elfman3:22
15."The Light"Danny Elfman5:44
16."The Finale"Danny Elfman0:18
17."Worm Lounge 2"Danny Elfman3:09
18."Titles Revisited"Danny Elfman2:57
19."I Will Survive"Tim Blaney3:03
20."Black Suits Comin' (Nod Ya Head)"Will Smith featuring Trā-Knox4:20
Total length:53:19[7]


Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, Men in Black II holds an approval rating of 39% based on 193 reviews, and an average rating of 5.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Lacking the freshness of the first movie, MIB 2 recycles elements from its predecessor with mixed results."[8] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 49 out of 100, based on 37 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[9] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[10]

A. O. Scott of The New York Times said, "Within the trivial, ingratiating scope of its ambition, though, the sequel is pleasant enough," and, noting the huge array of aliens designed by Rick Baker, said that the film "really belongs to Mr. Baker."[11] A review in The Hindu called the film "worth viewing once."[12] Another review from Digital Media FX magazine praised the spaceships as looking very realistic, but criticized many of the simpler visual effects such as the moving backgrounds composited behind the car windows using blue-screen (which it called a throwback to the special effects of earlier decades).[13] In August 2002, Entertainment Weekly placed the Worm Guys among their list of the best CG characters, and said that the enlarged roles of both Frank the Pug and the Worm Guys in Men in Black II was beneficial for the "tiring franchise".[14] The film was nominated for a Visual Effects Society Award for "Best Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Motion Picture" but lost to The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.[15] The film earned a Razzie Award nomination for Lara Flynn Boyle as Worst Supporting Actress.[16]

Box office[edit]

Released theatrically on July 3, 2002, Men in Black II was number one on its opening weekend with revenue of $52,148,751,[17] beating out The Powerpuff Girls Movie. The film held the number one position in its second week with revenue of $24,410,311, a 53.2% decrease from the previous week. The third week saw a 40.4% decrease with the revenue of $14,552,335, coming in at number three.[18]

After the first month the film remained at fourth place, with revenue of $8,477,202.[18] Men in Black II fell out of the top ten after six weeks.[18] After sixty-two days of release in North America, Men in Black II grossed $190,418,803.[1] 43.1% of the film's worldwide revenue of $441,818,803 came from North America.[1]

Home media[edit]

Men In Black II was released on DVD & VHS on November 26, 2002, a Blu-Ray release followed on May 1 2012.[19] The entire Men In Black series was released on 4K UHD Blu-Ray on December 5 2017.


  1. ^ a b c d "Men In Black II". Retrieved February 3, 2010.
  2. ^ "Men in Black II: Alien Escape - GameSpot". Retrieved 2014-08-06.
  3. ^ a b Karger, Dave (July 12, 2002). "Aliens, Smith, And Jones". Entertainment Weekly. p. 2. Retrieved December 21, 2008.
  4. ^ a b Munson, Brad (2002). Inside Men in Black II. New York: Ballantine Books. p. 16. ISBN 0-345-45065-5.
  5. ^ "Digital Media FX News Archives: Men In Black 2 Ending to be Refilmed After Disaster". Digital Media FX. September 14, 2001. Retrieved December 22, 2008.
  6. ^ a b Jackson, Blair (July 2, 2002). "Men In Black 2". Mix. Retrieved December 21, 2008.
  7. ^ a b Men In Black II Soundtrack at AllMusic
  8. ^ "Men in Black II (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  9. ^ "Men in Black II Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 1, 2009.
  10. ^ "Men in Black II". CinemaScore. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  11. ^ Scott, A.O. (July 3, 2002). "Men in Black II (2002) FILM REVIEW; Defending Earth, With Worms and a Talking Pug". The New York Times. Retrieved December 21, 2008.
  12. ^ Mahesh, Chitra (August 2, 2002). "Men in Black-II". The Hindu. Retrieved December 21, 2008.
  13. ^ Evans, Noell Wolfgreen. "Digital Media FX Review of Men In Black 2". Digital Media FX. Retrieved December 21, 2008.
  14. ^ "Movie Commentary: The Worm Guys made our list of best CG characters". Entertainment Weekly. August 27, 2002. Retrieved December 22, 2008.
  15. ^ "1st Annual VES Awards". visual effects society.
  16. ^ "23rd annual Razzie Award nominees". UPI. 10 February 2003. Archived from the original on 1 January 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  17. ^ "Same weekend. New record. 'Men in Black 2' Bags $87 Million Over Fourth of July Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  18. ^ a b c "Men In Black II: 2002". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 3, 2010.
  19. ^ "Men in Black II DVD Release Date". DVDs Release Dates. Retrieved 2018-05-19.

External links[edit]