Why the New ‘Men in Black’ Movie Will Be Better Without Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones

Matthew Loffhagen
TriStar
(Photo: TriStar)

Hey, everyone! We’re getting a new Men in Black movie!

No, come on, stop rolling your eyes, it might be good.

True, the franchise peaked in 1997 when the original movie was released.

Sure, the subsequent film did a Kingsman 2 and brought back a mentor character who had been effectively removed from the story, just because he seemed to be part of the winning formula of the original film.

Okay, maybe Men in Black 3 was a bit lazy, even if Josh Brolin’s Tommy Lee Jones impression was spot on.

Yes, this spin-off/reboot is being handled by Sony Pictures, the company responsible for The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Ignore all the negative ideas. There’s still a good world within these movies, with a lot of fun to be had from exploring the quirky comedy sci-fi world that first taught a generation of kids how to spot Orion’s Belt in the night’s sky.

In fact, this new movie might actually have the potential to be the best Men in Black movie since the original, or even surpass the first film in quality.

Neither Tommy Lee Jones or Will Smith will be returning for the new film, but that’s not a bad thing – it might be the perfect way to find a new, interesting story in this universe.

The problem with Men in Black II, apart from the presence of Johnny Knoxville in a key role, is the fact that the original Men in Black adequately wrapped up everyone’s story arcs.

Men in Black
Source: TriStar

Will Smith’s Agent J goes from a newbie at the start of the movie, to a competent, experienced agent who is capable of replacing his trainer.

Tommy Lee Jones’ Agent K, meanwhile, has his last final hurrah, and is able to give up his life as a defender of the galaxy to finally reunite with the love of his life.

The movie’s ending is satisfying, fulfilling, and heartfelt. Then, the sequel comes along and undoes all of that.

For some reason, we need Agent K back. Pulling him back into active duty is no big deal because his happy ending from the first movie went down the toilet, apparently, although we do need to spend an hour of the sequel’s runtime explaining how K can regain his memories (and also literally flushing him down the toilet, because subtle metaphors are for losers).

Also, Agent J is inexperienced all over again, because there’s a whole new level of stuff he needs to learn about. Rinse and repeat. This is the original movie, poorly remade, with a bit of David Cross that is the highlight of the entire endeavor.

Then comes Men in Black 3, which might as well have been called We All Want Another Paycheck. It tries to add emotional weight to the whole series, but in doing so it creates no end of plot holes and makes Agent K look like a heartless monster for not telling J anything about his childhood. Ultimately, it’s pretty forgettable.

So what’s the easiest way to fix everything that’s wrong with Men in Black, while keeping the engaging premise, fun setting, and complex world of alien lifeforms?

Simple: ditch Agents J and K, and create brand new characters.

This would have been a good idea when the first sequel rolled around; perhaps a movie about J and his new partner would have worked well, as they go on some new adventure instead of dragging K back into the mix.

New characters would allow the series to move forward, would provide fresh actors the chance to make something original, and would expand the franchise, instead of making it feel like literally everything in the whole universe revolves solely around Tommy Lee Jones’ character.

21 Jump Street
Source: Sony Pictures

This is why the rumored idea of a crossover with the 21 Jump Street franchise sounded like a fun idea – letting Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum make their mark on the Men in Black franchise would definitely work well.

Heck, we could get any group of modern funny actors together for one of these and it would be more engaging than watching the tired original cast go through the motions again.

What about, say, Rebel Wilson and Donald Faison? That’d be a fun mix!

Or how about Dave Bautista, Taron Egerton, and Mila Kunis? That’d be a Men in Black movie worth watching!

Alternatively, perhaps the most hilarious way to make this movie would be to get Paul Feige to direct, and to get all four of the new Ghostbusters on board to play Men in Black agents.

That would be worth it, just to see certain corners of the internet explode with rage!

Whatever comes next for this franchise, the future of Men in Black is looking up. It’s about to cast off its more overused elements, get a fresh lick of paint, and try again at recapturing the magic of the original movie.

If this one works out well, it could be to the Men in Black movies what The Force Awakens was to Star Wars. Fingers (and tentacles) crossed!

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