Why the film remains a sci-fi comedy classic

by Barry Sonnenfeld men in black is one of the most popular science fiction films of the last half century. Join the ranks of star wars, star trekand more recently Dunesthe men in black The franchise has the advantage of being one of the most internationally recognized sci-fi IPs in recent memory. While the sequels and the reboot of the MIBs property have certainly done a lot to hamper the brand, the first men in black remains a propulsive, thrilling and funny entry into a landscape that often sees more failures than successes.


As movies like this come and go, men in black has the power to stay. The film, its characters and its themes have become part of the culture, and that doesn’t happen often. While sequels and imitators have tried and failed to recapture the magic that was found in this 1997 classic, nothing beats the original. men in black is certainly made up of the “good stuff”, but why does it work so well? Here are three reasons moviegoers won’t soon forget the original men in black.

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Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith as Agents K and J in Men in Black II

Without the power of Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, it might have been easy for a movie like men in black go and come. If two stars had been hired for the roles of K and J who lacked chemistry, the entire movie business would have been dead on arrival. With Jones and Smith, however, the film went from what could have been disposable sci-fi trash can to something magnetic and superbly touching.

Fresh off the hit show The prince of Bel-Air and movies like Bad Boys, Independence Dayand SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION, Will Smith was at the forefront of American entertainment in 1997. An actor with charm, charisma and a leading man who seems to rival the best, Will Smith was just beginning to prove to the world that he would soon be one of the biggest names in the film industry. undeniable talents. As he seeks to win his first Oscar later this year for his performance in King Richardin 1997 Smith was a champ trying to work his way to the top of the leading man ladder.

Tommy Lee Jones, meanwhile, had been in the business for decades before 1997. Three years after his Oscar win for The Fugitive and fresh from starring in a string of hits including jfk, born killers, batman foreverand Volcano, Jones was in the midst of a career high. Director Barry Sonnenfeld struck gold when he decided to pair the two. Playing on the worn trope of odd couple movies, the director saw that the two leads snuggled into their roles with ease and grace.

We cannot say enough about the effectiveness of the interplay between Jones and Smith in men in black. Smith plays the audience surrogate as a man who is introduced to the world of criminal aliens, and Jones is the perfect contrast as a curmudgeonly veteran showing him the ropes. However, not all the love is lost between the two, as a beautiful bond forms between the two throughout the run. Jones and Smith are the mainstays of men in blackand what strong pillars they are.

will smith in men in black

Avoiding dark, depraved sci-fi tropes as seen in recent movies like dark city and 12 monkeys, men in black decided to take a dime novelistic approach to its storytelling. Beginning with a cheeky intro that acts as an homage to 50s sci-fi entertainment, men in black immediately lets the audience know that he’s not going to take himself too seriously.

The comedic tone mixed with jaw-dropping action set pieces combine to create a film that reaches the absolute pinnacle of popcorn moviemaking. Sonnenfeld deftly blends buddy cop tones with the overt landscape of sci-fi to produce a film that attaches to audiences out of sheer sympathy. By letting the audience gasp laughing one minute and then clinging to the edge of their seat the next, men in black entertains and then some.

A simpler film crew would have produced something superfluous, but Sonnenfeld and co. had the skills to make sure the image would look vital instead of spinning the wheel. Stories like these had been around for quite some time at this point. If the film had been a pale imitation of something else, it probably would have failed. Never feel less than original, men in black is a creation that had no competitors at the time of its release.

play like Beverly Hills Cop mixed with extraterrestrials, Men in Black was able to reach an audience eager for comedy and suspense. Never allowing its storyline to meander too long in already-trodden territory, Bill and Ted and This is the Garry Shandling show Writer Ed Solomon has struck the right balance between sci-fi absurdity and relationship comedy. It’s the combination of these two elements that keeps audiences coming back time and time again and has left the entertainment world scrambling to recreate it ever since.


While men in black perseveres because of its cast and blend of laugh-out-loud comedy and invigorating sci-fi action, its addition of pure, heartfelt intent takes it beyond the stratosphere. Arriving in the decade after masochistic violent films like Commando and the Rambo suites, men in black really has a heart. While it gave the audience characters to take care of, it also let them know that the characters cared about each other and the world around them.

The characters in men in black don’t just exist to kill aliens, they exist to help them. While a Stallone-led movie where the famous muscleman roams the streets of New York looking for green goons to blast sounds like a good time in the movies, this is men in blackThe subversion of that expectation that helped make it so special. Agents J and K will kill the bad aliens, that’s for sure, but it’s all about making the good aliens’ lives as livable as possible.

Both Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are capable action heroes here, but they never exert their violent abilities in a way that suggests the characters are insincere. The film is filled to the brim with awe-inspiring ideas, and it suggests that the only reason these two got into the alien crime-stopping game is because of their childish wonderment and love for nature. ‘universe.

In 2022, it’s refreshing to see even fictional law enforcement officers wielding not just guns, but a sincere desire for peace. K and J are characters with attitudes of stone but hearts of gold, and it’s almost impossible not to want them to succeed. The film ends on a touching note between K and J that has the power to bring tears to your eyes. This powerful moment doesn’t come from a place of violence or turmoil, but rather from the scholarly respect between the two men. men in black is a positive burst of euphoria and laughter, and it’s only gotten better in the 25 years since its release.

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