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File:MenInBlack 633.jpg

 "Protecting the Earth from the scum of the universe."

An MIB agent code-named K (Tommy Lee Jones) seeks out a new recruit to monitor alien activity on earth. The MIB pass over Navy SEALs and Green Berets, instead deciding on the quick-thinking and fast-talking NYPD James Edwards (Will Smith). Without knowing what he was recruited for, James (now codenamed "J") is told that the MIB agency is beyond all government jurisdiction, and that they are responsible for the alien (and we do mean it) immigrants who have taken residence on Earth. Part of the MIB's effective cover-up is using advanced alien technology to impersonate actual government officials, and especially the use of a device called the Neuralyzer, which is able to give Laser-Guided Amnesia to anyone not wearing special MIB-issue tinted glasses.

The Men in Black films are only moderately based on the original comics, mostly borrowing the concept and wardrobe of the agents. With a smart sense of humor, the deadpan delivery of Tommy Lee Jones as the seen-it-all K and the much lauded performance of Will Smith as J, the first Men In Black movie was one of the most popular films of 1997. Some publicity was garnered on advertising posters from the fact that they are literally "Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones." Men in Black II came out in 2002, and although it was somewhat well-received, it was considered a "more of the same" Sequelitis. With K officially retired (with his memory wiped and civilian identity restored) J has been working overtime as the top field agent of MiB. A powerful and malevolent alien named Serleena returns to Earth looking for "The Light of Zartha," which is tied to a case K was involved with back in the 70's. To get the information they need, they reinstate K and get back to business.

Men in Black 3 (stylized MIB3, but not MIB:3D) was released on May 25, 2012, with Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith reprising their roles and the writer for Tropic Thunder and Idiocracy on writing duties. A very dangerous Boglodite named Boris The Animal breaks from a lunar prison and swears revenge on K, who took away his left arm during his arrest 40 years ago. He successfully erases K from the present by helping his younger self to kill him in 1969, allowing a Boglodite invasion. Somehow the only one in the present who notices the change, J must travel back to 1969 to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.

The first movie provides examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: The Twins who run the MIB headquarters are named Blblup and Bob. Note that we're guessing on how the first one's spelled. And the second one too.
    • The novelization provides spelled-out alien names for both. Both also have Earth nicknames, "Jack" and "Gracie."
  • Alien Autopsy: The coroner, Laurel, ends up performing these inadvertently on two non-human corpses. It's suggested that she is one of the MIB's most frequently neuralyzed individuals for this very reason.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: Averted with the aliens in the series, they're not any more evil than humans are. This is however played straight with the bugs, of which Edgar is a part of. Also present are the Boglodites...but they act out of sustenance, not greed. Boris The Animal (a member of said race) however is the nastiest villain in the series.
  • Aliens Steal Cattle: For a movie about aliens and UFOs, it's notably averted. When the Bug arrives at the farmhouse where Edgar lives, a cow is seen grazing near the truck, but then the cow leaves the truck shortly before the Bug's spacecraft totals it while landing, and Bug-Edgar doesn't express any interest in the cattle on the farm. The one thing he IS interested in is the farmer.
  • Almost-Dead Guy: The Arquillian Prince inside the jeweler's body, who survives long enough to give a cryptic clue to the protagonists.
  • Amnesia Missed a Spot: When J meets Dr. Weaver in the morgue, they vaguely notice that they may have met before, but dismiss it as Deja Vu. In the beginning of the movie, they had met, but K had wiped both of their memories.
  • Amusing Alien: Lots, but the Worm Guys and Jeebs are probably the best example.
  • Animated Adaptation: The series that used to air on Kids' WB! and Nickelodeon's short-lived SLAM!
  • Apologetic Attacker: "Deliver the Galaxy or Earth will be destroyed. Sorry."
  • Artistic License Gun Safety: J points the Noisy Cricket in K's face as soon as K hands it to him. K then proceeds to have J carry the gun into the field without having had a chance to practice with it. Both are major gun safety no-nos.
  • Asshole Victim: No one feels bad for Edgar.
  • Badass Creed

 Anonymity is your name

Silence, your native tongue

You are no longer part of the system

You are above the system. Over it. Beyond it

We're "Them." We're "They"

We are the Men in Black

  • Balloon Belly: Serleena after eating a rapist at the beginning of the second film.

 J: Have you ever flashy-thinged me?

K: No.

J: Have you ever flashy-thinged me?

K: No.

  • Blown Across the Room: Laser weapons hurt.
  • Book Ends:
    • "They're beautiful, aren't they?"
    • "See you around, ___." "No, ___, you won't."
  • Brick Joke: When J learns about aliens living in New York, he immediately assumes they work as cab drivers, and is told, "Not as many as you'd think." A while later, Dr. Laurel, when it's revealed to her, starts on a rant along the lines of, "I knew it. There was this cab driver the other day..."
  • Bring It: J to Edgar.

 J: Don't start nothin'... (squish!) ... don't be nothin'!

  • Broken Masquerade: K's introduction to aliens on Earth - and more-or-less how the Men in Black got started.
  • Buffy-Speak: J calls the neuralyzer the "Flashy-Thing," and refers to getting neuralyzed as "flashy-thingied."
  • Casting Gag: The posters play on the fact that the film's two main stars had the last names "Smith" and "Jones"... you know, the kind of super-plain codenames you'd expect two anonymous, black-suited government agents to use.
  • Chekhov's Gun. In the first film:
    • The flying saucers from the first MIB meeting in 1961, converted into towers at Flushing.
    • The little red button in the LTD.
    • K ordering J to fasten his seat belt, J lecturing him about politeness, and K politely asking J to put on a seat belt after pushing the little red button.
  • Chekov'sSkill: Though played for laughs, when J shoots little Tiffany, his description of the situation demonstrates a skilled ability to pick up on details in the scene. While it seems he's simply embellishing to Zed, J is later the one who makes the connection between the cat Orion and the galaxy on its collar by noticing a picture in the jewel shop and seeing a cat with a charm hanging from its collar. He also remembers the flying saucers at the Worlds Fair in Queens.
  • Code Name: Each agent is supplied with one, but it's the first letter of their first name. Expanded Universe has them go into detail with it.
  • The Comically Serious: Nothing about the job fazes K in the slightest, so his deadpan approach to all the outlandish alien craziness is hilarious.

 Beatrice: You here to make fun of me, too?

K: No ma'am, we at the FBI do not have a sense of humor we are aware of.

    • In an interview, Tommy Lee Jones says he actually is this; the way to make great comedy is stay close to Will Smith so the funny spills over.
  • Cool Car: Each agent, and each of them has a hidden form that comes in handy. "Old and Busted... new hotness."
  • Cool Shades: They've got a purpose, too - they protect against the mind-wiping effects of the Neuralyzer.
  • Creepy Cockroach: There's a giant roach alien who devours a human and uses his skin as a disguise. He also leaves swarms of roaches wherever he goes, and loves sugar (preferably in water).
  • Dark Is Not Evil: They are Men In Black after all, but also Earth's "best, last, and only defense against the scum of the universe." Lampshaded in Will Smith's music video.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Many characters, but most of all K and J.

 K: I don't suppose you know what kind of alien life form leaves a green spectral trail and craves sugar water, do you?

J: Uh, wait, that was on "Final Jeopardy!" last night. Damn, Alex said...

  • The Dog Is an Alien: Frank the Pug.
  • Domestic Abuser: In the short time before he's killed and inhabited by the Bug, Edgar demeans his wife's cooking, calls her lazy and threatens to hit her.
  • Drives Like Crazy: K.
  • Drool Hello: Indirectly. After K enters the morgue to find out what's happened to J, he tries to light a cigarette but the match is put out by a drip of slime. He looks up, and now we know what happened to the clerk...
  • Eat Me: Trope Namer. K goads the Bug into eating him so he can retrieve his gun and blow it up from the inside.
  • Elvis Has Left the Planet: according to K, "He's not dead, he just went home."
  • Enemy Rising Behind: After K blasts his way out of the Bug, he and J sit back to reflect on the moment while the upper half of the Bug crawls behind them to attack, only to be blasted at the last second by Laurel using J's gun.
  • Enforced Method Acting: Tommy Lee Jones was not amused by the script he was given, so he ad-libbed a good deal of his dialogue. Look closely enough and you can see Will Smith trying to keep up, as expected of the fresh recruit. The resulting synergy is well over half the movie's charm.
  • ET Gave Us Wi Fi: The MIB has been supporting themselves by selling alien technology, helping along the development of modern tech. Microwaves and wi-fi are all alien tech, and in the expanded universe, cell phones, solar power, and many more were all reverse-engineered from contraband.
  • Epic Fail: "May I ask why you felt little Tiffany deserved to die?"
    • Played with: J points out that the freaky looking aliens all could be doing fairly innocuous things like working out, while Tiffany is walking around with physics textbooks well out of her grade range in a dark alley.
      • In fact, it's implied that this is why K picks J in the first place. The other guys, blasting away at the aliens without thinking, wouldn't be at their best in an environment where they've been given immensely powerful weapons and are meeting those aliens face-to-face.
  • Eureka Moment: J figures out the Arquillian prince's last words meant when he sees Frank barking at a cat.
  • Exact Words: The "You can have my gun..." exchange.
    • Even more layers of this in this scene, as the novelization reveals that prior to assimilating Edgar's memories, the Bug was using a crappy translator. It renders the saying "Your funeral" into the exact meaning of "Your proposal is acceptable."
    • Also, Bug-Edgar, when talking with the head chef in regards to where "little Ivan" is (the server who was supposed to be serving the ambassadors of the two alien races that Bug-Edgar is trying to assassinate and steal the galaxy from), responds that he "gave him a break." The camera pans, revealing that Bug-Edgar means this quite literally, having broken his body in half and stuffed him into a shelf.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Orion's Belt... technically, collar, but whatever.
  • Exposed Extraterrestrials: Whenever the MIB are around.
  • Extranormal Institute: The MIB.
  • Face Stealer: The Bug.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Bug clearly despises humans, and refers to them by a variety of unflattering terms, including "undeveloped pond-scum," "monkey-boys," "meat-sacks" and "milk-suckers." The rest of his species, according to Kay, are probably very much the same.
  • Fashion Dissonance: Agent J's getup at the end of the film (oval-rim sunglasses, long Nehru jacket, and band collar without a necktie) was Hollywood haute-couture for a brief moment towards the end of The Nineties. Its purpose in the film is probably to make him look more "up-to-date" and "hip". Tellingly, he goes back to a normal black suit for the sequels.
  • Fiction as Cover Up: Tabloids serve a double purpose: they act as part of the alien cover-up by causing people to dismiss any stories they hear about aliens while also being a legitimate source of news for those in the know.
  • Foreshadowing: The first line in the movie is "Goddamned bugs!"
  • Freudian Threat: "I want you on the next transport off this rock or I'm going to shoot you where it don't grow back."
  • Forbidden Chekhov's Gun:

 Kay: Remember when I said 'Don't push the little red button?'

Jay: Yeah?

Kay: Push the little red button.

[Jay does so]

K: And you might want to put on a seat belt. [Car develops rocket boosters and travels upside down on the roof of the tunnel]

 J: See this badge?! Huh?! N-Y-P-D! Means I will kNock Yo' Punk-ass Down!

  • Funny Background Event: Zed neuralyzing the rejected recruits as J and K walk by shortly after the recruitment process. Also, the memorable alien-childbirth scene, which supplies the page image for the trope.
  • Gas Leak Coverup: The course of action taken after people who witness UFO's or aliens are neuralyzed.

  Agent K: The flash of light you saw in the sky was not a UFO. Swamp gas from a weather balloon was trapped in a thermal pocket and reflected the light from Venus.

 J: There's only one way off this planet, baby, and that's through me! [the Bug promptly slaps him aside]

 J: What branch of the government do we report to?

K: None, they ask too many questions.

  • Genius Bruiser: J can beat aliens in a foot race and punch some of them out. But he's also a lateral thinker able to see the forest when everybody else is focused on the trees, and is usually able to make logical leaps that K can't.
  • Hammerspace: How the Bug fits in the Edgar-suit (although he's clearly not too comfy). It makes some sense when you know that roaches are capable of pressing their bodies together to fit into tighter spaces; it makes them extremely resistant against being killed by stepping on them (you need a hard flat surface for that to work). Since the Bug is based on roaches in design and physiology, it's not too far-fetched to assume he has an improved version of that survival technique.
    • "How can it do that?" "They have their ways. And using those ways just makes it even more angry."
    • The novel also explicitly states that there's some literal Hammerspace going on, and that this is a natural ability the Bugs have.
  • Hand Cannon: With a twist.
  • Hard to Weld Work: Provides (part of) the trope image. Namely, that despite this being a Marvel property, it would be really hard to integrate it into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Herald
  • Historical In-Joke: Roswell. The 1964 World's Fair is shown to have hosted some really big UFOs.
  • Hugh Mann: Edgar.
  • Humans Are Morons: "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it."

 Agent K: Human thought is so primitive, it is looked upon as an infectious disease in some of the better galaxies. Kind of makes you feel proud, doesn't it?

  • I Love the Dead: Implied for Laurel
    • As a bonus, Laurel at one point explicitly states the opposite, "I hate the living."
  • Immortal Life Is Cheap
  • Imported Alien Phlebotinum: In the games, the Aliens are responsible for everything. Also, the Galaxy in the first movie.
  • Internal Retcon: The whole point of the Neuralyzers.
  • Insectoid Aliens: Edgar.
  • Insignificant Little Blue Planet: Zig Zagged trope. It's clearly stated that most aliens view Earth as a very unimportant planet. In fact, that's why these aliens visit: it's "an apolitical zone for aliens without a planet," the Casablanca of the universe. Of course, having so many alien species mingling every day (some of who are considered royalty on their homeworld) means that, in consequence, Earth Is the Center of the Universe.
    • This then gets worked into the film's Anthropic Principle: the Men In Black keep up The Masquerade to make sure the neutral zone stays neutral.
      • Which leads into a nasty conclusion: the Men In Black will keep using the neuralizers forever, as they themselves agree with all the aliens that humans are so stupid that they only way Earth can thrive is as a neutral zone. As long as the Men In Black are around, we will never go to space.
  • Insult Backfire: Human intelligence is so primitive that it's considered an infectious disease on other planets. "Kinda makes you proud, doesn't it?"
  • Inventor of the Mundane: The MIB owned the patents to some 'out of town' inventions. Among them was Velcro.
  • Invisible Aliens: More like disguised, though.
  • Japanese Tourist: J lands on a bus full of them when chasing the perp during the Cold Opening.
  • Jerkass: Edgar was like this before he got killed and ended up body snatched by the Bug.
  • Just Eat Him: K, going to get back his gun from Edgar's throat in the first film's climax. "Eat me. EAT ME!!"
  • Kill and Replace: The Bug does this to Edgar.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: How the Neuralyzer works. They can be set to wipe someone of certain memories of someone, or the last twenty minutes of aliens trying to kill them. Repeated neuralyzations, however, cause deja vu in some subjects.
  • Leno Device: The end of the first movie shows tabloid articles talking about the effects of the climax on the public, including a conspiracy theory forming about Detroit perfecting a rocket car and one story about the baseball player who missed the catch during the baseball game shown in the movie claiming "UFO MADE ME MISS HOME RUN!" (which is actually true).
    • Of course, the joke is that the tabloids contain the best source of information for MIB ("You can try the New York Times if you want. They get lucky sometimes.")
  • Living Shadow
  • Losing Your Head: Jeebs. Kay shoots him in the head and he regrows it, with complaints about the inconvenience.

 Jeebs: Do you have any idea how much that stings?

Kay: Show us the merchandise or you'll lose another head, Jeebs.

  • MacGuffin: The Galaxy, in the first movie.
  • Masquerade: Most aliens use prosthetics to pass off as human, animal, or machine.
  • Memory-Wiping Crew: A team is called in after every alien encounter, for obvious reasons.
  • The Men in Black: The good guy version.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Averted. K survives the Bug's innards to retrieve his gun and blast his way out.
  • Mobile Suit Human: Rosenberg. The alien prince of the Arquillian Empire who had the Galaxy was piloting one ("the little dude inside the big dude's head"), the better to hide from enemies — and to pet his cat.
  • Mood Whiplash: J is more than happy to help K with doing the whole Good Cop, Bad Cop routine while questioning Jeebs, until K holy shit blows Jeebs's head off, at which point J drops the act and screams at K to drop his weapon. (The mood is restored when Jeebs's head grows back.)
  • Multi Armed Multitasking: The twin Mission Controls in the first movie, and the mail-sorting alien in the sequel.
  • My Card: K hands one to J as part of recruitment.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: How some alien languages work.
  • Naive Newcomer: J in the first movie indulges in Uncle Tomfoolery. K is somewhat less of one in the second when J tries to bring him back, though J still gets exasperated when he keeps poking everything.
  • Needle in a Stack of Needles: When "Edgar" escapes with the Galaxy and Laurel, J realizes he's escaped in a cab. The trouble is, the movie is set in New York, and it's rush hour.
  • No Accounting for Taste: Edgar and Beatrice.

  J: (to Kay) The dude was that ugly before he was an alien?

  • Non-Answer: During the recruitment, J asks why they were there, and one of the military-trained recruits responds that Zed is looking the "the best of the best of the best, sir." J deduces, correctly, that none of the others knows why they're there either, and are following a "do what you're told" mentality.
    • Given the results of the test, it's entirely possible that the recruitment process was just a going-through-the-motions act put on for the benefit of J and/or Zed.
  • Nonverbal Miscommunication: J (understandably) misreading Laurel's frantic signals that the Bug is hiding in the trolley as a come-on.
  • Noodle Incident: Agent K tells Agent J, "you should've been here for the Zeronion migration in 1968." Additionally, whatever's going on in the Arquillian empire that has resulted in one of its princes living in exile.
  • Not This One, That One: Agent J is shown an awesome-looking Series-4 De-atomizer, but is actually issued a puny-looking Noisy Cricket.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: J, to a degree. The entire first act of the movie is designed to show that his streetwise smart-ass routine is largely a put-on and he's actually a very good, and even insightful, detective.
  • Oh Crap: Only once does Agent K briefly lose his composure, thanks to witnessing the Bug revealing itself.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Jeebs, Frank the Pug and the Worms (though they show up briefly in three different scenes). Positive response led to them all returning for the animated series and the sequel.
  • One-Winged Angel: Edgar's final form, a giant, angry cockroach with teeth.
  • Orphaned Punchline: "But honey, this one's eating my popcorn!" Here's the rest of the joke.
  • Parody: The film parodies the witterings of conspiracy theorists by taking them at face value.
  • Passing the Torch: At the end of the film, by K giving J the neuralyzer.
  • Person with the Clothing: Black suits, black shades.
  • Planet Looters: Edgar's race feeds off intergalactic wars.
  • Planet Terra: In the novelization, Edgar calls humans "terries."
  • Plausible Deniability
  • Public Secret Message: Agent K explains that tabloids, which are assumed to be hoaxes by Muggles, are in fact based on true events behind The Masquerade (since tabloids have less Weirdness Censor than "serious" newspapers). Later, when Agent K retires, Agent J notices an article with Agent K's photo and an article about a postal worker who returned to his old job after years in a coma, revealing Agent K's fate, which then becomes a major plot point in the second film.
  • Punctuated for Emphasis:
    • When J catches up to the perp he's chasing:

 J: N! Y! P! D! Means I will kNock! Yo! Punk-ass! Down!

  • Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: Happens three times.
    • The Bug to Edgar when they first meet
    • Edwards to K after K shoots Jeebs in the head, only to drop it when his head grows back
    • The Bug to J and K when they confront him in the morgue
  • Race Lift: Jay. He was white in the original comics and was supposed to be played by Chris O'Donnell who was filming Batman and Robin at the time.
  • Recursive Reality: The MacGuffin that draws Edgar Bug to Earth in the first film is a miniature galaxy. The final scene reveals that our galaxy is just like the MacGuffin, and lies several layers down within a miniature galaxy-orb that an alien is playing marbles with.
    • Men in Black II pulls a similar gag by showing a world inside a locker where K's watch is a symbol of worship, then at the end, K shows J that their world is also simply inside a larger locker (doesn't work quite as well as the first film, due to Fridge Logic).
      • An alternate ending has J going on vacation and ending up on the world inside the locker and the size of its inhabitants, implying some sort of change in size when you go through the locker door, or that the lockers are more of a Portal Network.
  • Recycled: the Series
  • Refuge in Audacity:

 J: So, who exactly are you with? FBI? NSA?

K: I'm part of a bureau that licenses, monitors and polices alien activity on the planet Earth.

J: Whatever.

 Edgar (the farmer): You can have my gun (Dramatic Gun Cock) when you pry it from my dead fingers.

Edgar (the bug): Your proposal is acceptable. [sucks Edgar into the hole]

  Zed: "Congratulations, you're everything we've come to expect from years of government training." (inadequate).

  J: This definitely rates about a 9.0 on my weird-shit-o-meter.

  • This Explains So Much: Twice. J discovers his third grade teacher really was an alien all along, and at the end when J reveals Dennis Rodman is one, too.
  • Threat Backfire: See Exact Words.
    • Also, when kidnapping Laurel, she threatens that if Bug-Edgar does anything to her (after claiming that she's Earth's ruler or even a goddess), Earth will declare war on his species in an attempt to get him to let her go. Unfortunately, this gave Bug-Edgar a lot more incentive to kidnap her than before ("War? Good. That means more food for my family. All 78 million of them. That's a lot of mouths to feed, Highness.")
  • Throw It In: Will Smith's "It be raining black people in New York" line after he jumps onto the bus was ad-libbed.
    • Tommy Lee Jones was famously dissatisfied with the script and so he took it upon himself to "fix" it by ad-libbing a good deal of his dialogue and one-liners. The result was Will Smith, not to be outdone, having to play along too. The movie is unquestionably better for it.
  • Two of Your Earth Minutes: Parodied and played straight. A galactic week is one hour.
    • And the MIB operates on a 37-hour-day. According to Zed, "You get used to it. Or you have a psychotic episode."
  • Two Roads Before You: As the first movie demonstrates with J, all prospective agents have the choice between remaining in their current occupations and leading their lives, or joining the agency and severing all ties to their former lives.

 J: Is it worth it?

K: Oh, it's worth it... if you're strong enough.

 K: Alright, we'll use pulsar level five with a subsonic implosion factor.

J: What?

K: Just shoot the damn thing on the count of three!

 K: But go ahead, read the New York Times if you want. They get lucky sometimes.

 J, aiming a gun at K's head: DROP THE WEAPON!

    • Then Whiplashed back again as Jeebs regrows his head:

 Jeebs, in a high squeaky voice: You insensitive prrrrrick! D'you have any idea how much that stings?!

The second movie provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Know that weird language J speaks in to the guy in the mail room? Well, the mailman is actually Biz Markie, and that "weird alien language" is actually beatboxing.
    • Let's not forget that Patrick Warburton played a not-too-bright agent who joined MIB because he wants to be a hero. His codename? "Agent T."
  • Adam Westing: Michael Jackson
  • Anal Probing: Sci-Fi nerd Newton, upon finding out what J and K actually do, raises the question, "What's up with anal probing?"
  • Apathetic Citizens: J is thrown through the window of a New York subway train shortly after attempting to sedate the giant toothed alien monster with a tranquilizer and immediately starts shouting at everyone to evacuate to the next car. The passengers ignore him until a giant toothed alien monster bites a chunk off the car. Once the crisis is resolved and the train limps to a stop in the station, he neuralyzes them and starts chewing them out about this by pointing out that in an actual emergency, they would have been eaten. He then reneuralyzes them once he realizes that he's carried on for far too long, now with a hilarious story requesting that they enjoy using new space-efficient, energy-saving cars.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Serleena murders Ben after he refuses to divulge the location of the Light of Zartha. She also steals some of the pizza from his restaurant.
  • Balloon Belly: Serleena gets one after swallowing the mugger in the park whole, which she manages to get rid of by spitting him back out.
  • Balls of Steel: K is trying to fight off an alien with little success until J points out that that particular alien is impervious to groin attacks...because his balls are on his chin instead. Apparently his species is Ballchinian!
    • A hilarious ad-lib, to boot, as some of the other takes identified him as a Godnadineck, Nutchinian, Chinball, Nutthroatean, and Chinsackian. There were likely many others.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Michael Jackson. "I could be Agent M!"
  • Berserk Button:
    • Don't pull on Jeff's flower head, or else he will go into an immense rampage across the city and the subway system.
    • Don't mention to K that his wife left him because he spends most of his time stargazing and wondering if there's more going on out there.
  • Big Bad: Serleena.
  • Big Little Man: Serleena's spacecraft which flies around blowing up planets turns out to be smaller than a dog. And let's not forget how our entire universe is inside an airport locker.
  • Buxom Is Better: Lampshaded by Serleena in this little tidbit of dialogue:
  • Call Back: After K regains his memory, the constellation he stares at is Orion.
  • Canon Immigrant: Among other shout outs to the cartoon, the deneuralyzer.
  • City of Weirdos: MIB 2 had a scene where J can't clear a subway car he just crashed into because everyone dismisses him as just a New York nut. At least they get moving when a giant worm starts eating the car.
  • Creator Cameo: Barry Sonnenfeld (with his wife and daughter) as the family in the apartment K and J raid for weapons in the sequel.
  • Cut the Juice: J ordered the power to the facility be cut in order to cancel Serleena's flight with Laura and the light of Zartha, but the plan ended up proving to be unnecessary after J managed to stop the launch sequence at the last second.
  • Deadly Upgrade: Serleena, after she infected Jeff.
  • Disney Death: Variation. When J attempts to establish a communication channel with Frank, he gives Frank an order, but his transmission was cut inexplicably, leading the worms and Frank (and initially the audience) to think that J and K were shot down and killed by Serleena. However, it later becomes apparent that J and K survived, but the earlier shot only disabled their communications, thus explaining why the transmission ended.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Serleena's true form.
  • Empathic Environment: It begins to rain at the end of the film, as the Light of Zartha begins crying as her ship leaves. It always rains when she cries.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Takes place mostly in one night.
  • Face Full of Alien Wingwong: K, Frank, and Zed all talk about their own sexual experiences with aliens at the end of MIB II to cheer J up after his Love Interest was forced to return home, much to J's disgust.

 J: (pointing at Frank) No advice.

J: (pointing at K) No talking.

J: (pointing at Zed) ...HELL no.

  • Fan Service: Rosario Dawson's presence, though it's kind of dwarfed by having Lara Flynn Boyle playing as an alien that disguises itself as an underwear model in leather.
  • Forgot the Call: K got tired of working, and asked to be neuralyzed. The first half of the second movie is spent trying to get his memory back due to him knowing a Plot Coupon he also forgot.
  • Groin Attack:
    • "K, he's a Ballchinian!"
    • Also heavily implied to be what Frank the Pug (then known as Agent Eff) attempted to do when he was laughed at by a fellow agent.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: Particularly an extended outtake in which director Barry Sonnenfeld keeps calling a stand-in by the wrong name, much to the amusement of the actors.

 Sonnenfeld: Derek, can you try to--

Will Smith: Who the fuck is Derek?!

  • Inferred Holocaust: Averted but lampshaded. After they have Laura, the Light of Zartha, leave the planet and destroyed her pursuer, K tells J to leave and head back to headquarters. J then points out that a great deal of people had witnessed what had happened with the implied possibility of having to a long night of neuralyzing all of New York before they can go back to HQ. K then puts on his sunglasses and nonverbally tells J to put on his sunglasses, and then activates a giant neuralyzer located within the Statue of Liberty's torch.
  • Kill It Through Its Stomach: Poor Jeff...
  • Killer Rabbit:
    • Frank.

 Frank: Got kids?

Agent (who was laughing at him): No.

Frank: Want 'em?

[growls, sounds of screaming as he attacks the agent]

    • Also, Serleena's initial form, which is a tiny worm/plant thing.
  • Lecherous Licking: A mugger licks Serleena's face before she kills him, and later on Serleena sticks her tongue in Agent K's ear.
  • Lighter and Softer: To the point of parody. The original comic was much, much darker.
  • Losing Your Head: Jeebs
  • Luke, I Might Be Your Father: It's heavily implied K is Laura/The Light of Zartha's birth-father.
  • Mugging the Monster: Serleena is attacked by a mugger just one second after she takes on the form of an underwear model. Somehow, he managed not to notice, presumably because he was offscreen.
  • Mythology Gag: When the man reading the newspaper expresses his gladness while reading his newspaper about J and K returning to the MIB headquarters after Serleena locked it down, the headlines state that Satan has returned to Earth. In the original comic of the Men In Black, besides tracking aliens, the MIB also tracked down demons and supernatural entities.
  • Naive Newcomer: K, when J tries to bring him back. J gets exasperated when he keeps poking everything.
  • One-Winged Angel: Serleena's final takeover of the Subway Worm.
  • Orphaned Punchline: "Rectum? Damn near killed 'em" by the worms.
    • This might qualify under Noodle Incident, but when J was attempting to establish a channel with Frank during their chase by Serenna, Frank the Pug is saying to the Worms with a cigar in his mouth "So I said 'Listen, bitch! If you don't want me to kick your skinny, zone-diet ass, I suggest you turn tail and leave the planet!'"
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: J to Serleena: "Your flight's been canceled," although she gets better... temporarily.
  • Punctuated for Emphasis:
  • Red Herring: J (and the viewer) are led to believe that the Light of Zartha was Laura's watch. Actually, the watch was a time bomb activated to blow up with enough explosive power to destroy the planet (presumably as a means to avoid the villain from gaining it on Earth). The real Light of Zartha was actually Laura herself.
  • Retired Badass: K.
  • Rule of Perception: The ropey alien disguises are supposedly Invisible to Normals, but MIBs are fully able to spot them. Lampshaded in this movie when freshly-deneuralysed K starts seeing them for himself. We see even more in the third movie.
  • Sand Worm: Jeff, the subway worm.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Arguably averted. Serleena at one point asks for a spacecraft that can travel 300 times the speed of light. To put it into perspective, this speed would get you to Alpha Centauri, our nearest star, in 5.31 days. Still hardly the instant travel across the universe we always see in sci-fi, but at least the writers made an effort.
  • Sequel Non Entity: Laurel gets mentioned once just to "explain" why she isn't with them.
  • Sequel Reset: The first movie ended with K happily retired, all MIB memories erased and given a chance to start things over with the love of his life. J, meanwhile, became K's replacement and got a new partner of his own in Agent L. The sequel drops L (her absence is merely Handwaved) and brings back the amnesic K. Thing is, once his memories are restored, the same character dynamic from the first movie (despite J having five years of experience) is repeated.
  • Sexy Coat Flashing: Serleena really wants to become an underwear model (but not before infesting MIB headquarters).
  • Super Multi-Purpose Room: K hid a stash of alien weaponry in his old apartment.
  • Swallowed Whole: Serleena to a mugger.
  • Take That: When K uses the neuralyzer to neuralize any potential witnesses to Serleena's chase of him (and their flying car), the only visible neuralized people were two kids who strongly resembled Huey and Riley Freeman from The Boondocks.
  • Unstoppable Rage: After J's new recruit foolishly tried to pull on Jeffrey (the Subway Worm's) flower, to put it simply, it was extremely P.O.'ed, and started lashing out at everything, including J, and then rampaging across the Subway tunnels. He eventually calms down after J attempts to threaten to blast it if it doesn't calm down, and presumably also due to the tranquilizer that he injected earlier finally going into effect after the slight delay.
  • Weaponized Landmark: The Statue of Liberty. Sort of. It's actually a giant neuralyzer.
  • What Does This Button Do?: In the original, K's car has the little red button. In this one, J's car has two - one that turns it into a jet, the other deploys a dummy to look like the car is being driven by someone. Used to hilarious effect twice:

 K: That come standard?

J: Well, it came with a black dude, but he kept gettin' pulled over.

  • You Were Trying Too Hard: At the pizzeria, when J realizes the photograph is pointing at something, which seems to be another photo pointing at something, which was ultimately... a cabinet full of sardines. K, however, sees the first photo is pointing at a key hanging from the wall.

 K: I hope I'm not slowing you down, partner...

  • Zeerust: Jeebs' de-neuralyzer is distinctly less advanced than what was previously shown.

The third movie provides examples of:

 J: Listen, I have rights and I demand to see my lawyer before you press that small button on the side firmly.

  • Brick Joke: Possibly with Agent J being pulled over in 1969 simply because he was black (He had 'stolen' a car but the cops didn't know that) In Men in Black II J remarks that the inflatable autopilot agent in the car used to be a black guy, but he kept getting pulled over.
  • Broken Aesop: J delivers one to the cops that pull him over in 1969

 J: "Just because you see a black man driving a nice car does not mean it's stolen! Well, this one is..."

 Boris: "Let's agree to disagree."

Boris: "It's just BORIS!"

  • Cerebus Retcon: The reason K has always been such a curmudgeonly old guy is because he witnessed J's father sacrificing himself to save K from Boris back in 1969, which ended up with him somewhat becoming a surrogate to J.
    • The movie also explains why he talked Z into recruiting J despite him being the most unconventional candidate.
  • Chekov's Gun: The Moon landing.
  • Continuity Nod: While he doesn't appear in the film, Frank is referenced twice. Over Jay's bed, a huge portrait of a pug is hung, and a sideshow poster on Coney Island references the "amazing talking dog" - a pug.
    • Agent Kay is back living in the apartment that he used to have prior to Men in Black II.
    • The Colonel says "that's some next-level stuff" as the Arcnet Shield is deployed. J said "there's some next-level shit" when getting on the elevator as he returned to officially join up in the first film.
    • The cafe K and J go to is the same one J took T and Laura to in the second film.
    • Hey, K, have you ever flashy-thinged me?
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Agent J
  • Corpsing: When our heroes first meet the Colonel, one of the MP's in the background is clearly trying not to crack up.
  • Dawson Casting: K is supposed to be 29 in 1969. He's played by Josh Brolin, who was 43 during the filming.
    • J lampshades this, looking incredulously at K and snarking "Got some city miles on ya, huh?"
    • Inverted with Will Smith as Smith was born in 1968. We learn J was at least 4-5 in 1969 making J a few years older than Will Smith.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: J's father
    • Agent K's actions make this an Invoked Trope as he neuralizes the young J and tells him that all he needs to know is that his father was a hero.
  • Disney Villain Death: Subverted by both versions of Boris. Future!Boris survives getting pushed off a great height, but he is burned alive by the rocket as it takes off. Past!Boris falls after his arm is blown off, but he gets blown up by K.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Zed's dead, baby. Zed's dead.
  • Eureka Moment: J figures out where Griffin is by hearing two diner patrons talk about the Mets.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: A T. rex appears during the time jump sequence.
  • Exact Words: Why do you think it's called a time jump?
    • Lily's cake was 96% organic material, as analyzed by the LunarMax guards.
  • The Fun in Funeral: Kay's tribute to Zed consists in two phrases with no emotion at all. Agent O (Emma Thompson) imitates a tearful female alien spewing high-pitched gibberish.
  • Funny Background Event: Lady Gaga is an alien, living under her given name.
    • So is Yao Ming.
    • And Justin Bieber, David Beckham, and Richard Nixon.
    • That one big-eyed alien at Zed's memorial service who keeps blinking, and blinking, and blinking...
    • More of a Throw It In but look at one of the guards when J, K and Griffin are talking to the general.
  • Gene Hunt Interrogation Technique: Happens with the aliens in the bowling alley - when one doesn't talk, J uses his head for a ball.
  • Genre Blindness: The prison guards in the opening scene. Someone brings a cake into a prison and you don't think to check it beyond a cursory scan?
    • Not to forget leaving massiv guns in the same area of a prison some of the worst inmates are kept in and not shooting Boris, despite him having a gun that can punch a hole in the hull of the lunar prison.
  • Good Cop, Bad Cop: J and K.
  • Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have!: Agent O, played by Emma Thompson in the present-day scenes.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Boris does this with himself almost immediately after meeting himself circa 1969.
  • Hero of Another Story: J finds out he's not the only MIB agent leaping back into time during the first time jump.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The Colonel, who turns out to be J's father.
  • Historical In-Joke: Undercover agent Andy Warhol desperately needs a transfer. He's so low on ideas he's been reduced to painting bananas and soup cans!
  • Horde of Alien Locusts: The Boglidites. Their species can only survive by conquest, they wipe out entire species as they move through the galaxy, and if they can't move on to a new species, they will die out.
  • I Hate Past Me: Boris. He sees in his past self all the mistakes that led to losing his arm and ending up The Last of His Kind. The loathing is mutual, though, as Young Boris sees in his future self all the failures that he hasn't suffered yet.
  • Innocent Inaccurate: "Mommy! The president is drinking my chocolate milk!"
    • "He didn't even say please.."
  • Insectoid Aliens: The parasite that lodges in Boris' hand and "completes him."
  • Insistent Terminology: It's JUST BORIS!
  • Ironic Echo: "Let's agree to disagree."
  • I Want My Jetpack: Lampshaded when O straps J and K to car sized jetpacks. J remarks there is a reason they don't use them.
  • Large Ham: Boris the Animal.
  • Last of His Kind: Boris is the last Boglodite alive.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Two prototypes of Neuralyzer exist in 1969, the giant one in which J is locked into and a smaller one with a battery attached to K's belt (which for some reason has a dial-up modem).
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Towards the start of the movie, Agent J claims that a fallen flying saucer was caused by someone on an airplane not turning off their cellphone when instructed to do so. He then starts a lecture telling people to turn off their cellphones, which could also be a message directed at the audience.
  • Make Wrong What Once Went Right: Why Boris travels back in time.
  • McLeaned / Role Ending Misdemeanor: Zed was killed off because Rip Torn had been arrested for drunk driving.
  • Mirthless Laughter: Boris. Just listen to it. Yikes.
  • Mistaken for Gay: The guy who gives J the time travel device comments "You must really love him," referring to K.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: Notice that Flaco never appears in the entire film?
  • "Mister Sandman" Sequence: The first things J sees when he travels back in 1969? Cars, hippies ...
  • Monumental Damage: An alien ship pulls out the top of the Eiffel Tower.
  • More Teeth Than the Osmond Family: Boris' "true form" seems to be nothing but teeth. Forshadowed by the mouth-like fissures his body is covered with.
  • Motor Mouth: Griffin can lapse into this, but considering he can see every possible timeline all at once it's understandable.
  • Mythology Gag: The plot resembles the MIB animated series episode "The Head Trip Syndrome" which was about a human bigot who hated Aliens and uses a time machine to kill off the founding members of MIB. The difference for the film is that the villain is an alien who wanted to travel back in time to kill K.
    • Both also involve K in an important event in history. In the TV show episode, K was there when the first aliens landed and presented them flowers (originally meant for a date) as a welcome gift (this actually was a callback to the first movie when K mentions the MIB origins). In this movie, he was responsible for sending a defense network out into space around Earth to keep alien invasions from happening by planting it on the Apollo 11 launch. This is part of the reason Boris wants him dead (though the majority for his motive is revenge).
    • Boris is also similar to Agent Alpha, a Psycho Prototype who K knew.
  • Newspaper Dating
    • What Year Is It: When the attempt at newspaper dating doesn't work because the guy in the elevator keeps shifting the date on the paper out of J's line of sight.
  • No Equal-Opportunity Time Travel: To be fair, the police still pull people over and give them a hard time for "driving while black."
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: The only way to make the Time Travel device work.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The Boglodites out of necessity need regularly to consume all the resources (and life forms) of a planet or they'll starve and die.
  • The Omniscient: Griffin. He's a spacetime omniscient alien who can see every single future possibility of given events and how these possibilities are influenced by other small events.
  • One-Winged Angel: Boris's true form at the end is pretty nasty looking. Subverted in that K isn't fazed at all and wastes no time disintegrating Boris with his laser gun.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: J's watch from his father.
  • Overly Long Tongue: With plenty of Squick to go along with it.
  • Phrase Catcher: "Boris the Animal!"
  • Remember the New Guy?: Agent O.
  • Retcon: In the first film they portrayed K as a man holding out for The One That Got Away. In this film they have him flirting with O every time they are together.
    • It does reinforce the theory that he had a love child with the queen of Zartha.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: J can remember the "real" past, which is explained as an effect of him being there, resulting in something of a Stable Time Loop.
  • Rubber Forehead Aliens: MIB headquarters in 1969 is populated by aliens that are accurate to late 60's scifi portrayals.
  • Sea Monster: The alien fish the Chinese restaurant keeps for their non-human patrons.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Why J travels back in time. More precisely, he needs to set right what was once right but then was made wrong.
    • Interesting enough next to J fixing the direct problem, future Boris and J also help fixing something else by accident. Because of future Boris, K has a legit reason to shoot him instead of arresting him. Likewise meeting future J, means K knows the boy will develop right lessening the guilt of not having been able to safe his father. Both changes cause K to be less grumpy and more friendly, somewhat.
  • Shout-Out: Both the LunarMax prison in the beginning and the bunker to the Apollo launch site in the end are labeled CRM-114, a code that pops up frequently in Stanley Kubrick's films since Dr. Strangelove.
  • The Sixties
  • Spike Shooter: Boris.
  • Stable Time Loop: Apparently the time travel plot was always supposed to happen. It results in J's father not being there while he was growing up, K becoming The Stoic (and looking after J throughout his life), and J having Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory.
    • It's also subverted since some events do change.
  • The Stoic: K. He has never been so stoic, and there's a good reason for that.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Zed, whose death happens offscreen. The film opens with J and K discussing what K will say at his funeral. Though oddly he does not make an appearance when J goes back in time.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: Boris is utterly sure he will be victorious, even despite his future self coming back to tell him that he wasn't.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: When Agent J returns to 2012, and does a Calling the Old Man Out routine on K and O's relationship in 1969, Agent K cites an MIB no-fraternization rule between agents. But he never actually denies J's claim, and J doesn't believe K's deflection anyway.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: Well, technically, it's Thrown Out The Gaping Hole Blasted Into The Ceiling, but this is how Boris deals with the prison guards when he escapes Lunar-Max.
  • Time Travel
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Poor Griffin lives in one inside his head. He seems to enjoy it at times, but knowing how every moment in existence could go horribly wrong in infinite ways obviously wears on his nerves.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Jeffrey Price, the time-traveler's son, really wanted to see J when he got back. Guess we'll never know why.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Boris's poor prison pen-pal.
    • Ungrateful Bastard: Poor girl goes through all the trouble to sneak a ...alien help him to escape. He repays it by letting her fly out into space.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: The girl who helps Boris escape and the prison inmate who is the father to the store clerk that sells him the time travel device.
    • Although, by Boris's death in 1969, they should both be inserted back into the new timeline.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Jeebs, who is usually the go-to-guy of illegal alien tech is replaced by a guy who runs a toy store.
  • You Killed My Father: It is revealed very late into the movie that Boris is the reason why J's father never saw him grow up. However, J never actually finds out until after 60s-era Boris does the deed and dies by K's hand and J finds his father dead, and likewise, J didn't remember until then because K neuralized him.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Boris' girlfriend and Obediah get sucked into space and headshotted, respectively.
  • Zeerust: Done deliberately with the MIB headquarters in 1969.

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