ByTom Chapman, writer at
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Tom Chapman

Well, it looks like it might really be time to put on the last suit you will ever wear, because it looks like Men in Black 4 might be as likely to appear as the aliens that reside within it. With its bopping soundtrack and blatant rip-off of Patricia Rushen's "Forget Me Nots," the first film became the third-highest grossing movie of 1997 and even won an Academy Award for Best Makeup. The next two installments may have brought in over $1.6 billion for , but were we watching a franchise that relied on its main stars rather than something people actually enjoy watching *cough* Pirates of the Caribbean *cough*.

The man behind the men, acclaimed filmmaker Barry Sonnenfeld, revealed the news that there are just too many factors against bringing another intergalactic adventure to the heart of New York:

“There are too many expensive players in the mix. There’s [Steven] Spielberg, there's other producers, and I think the way to do it is to have new agents or something like that. Not have me, not have Will, not have Tommy. Just have other adventures. I wish they would do it, I don't know if they will.”

I guess we will have to rely on reviving Fresh Prince to get our '90s nostalgia buzz then!

A Blackluster Continuation

'Men in Black III' [Credit: Columbia Pictures]
'Men in Black III' [Credit: Columbia Pictures]

While Men in Black was never going to rank up there with intergalactic innovations like of E.T., Alien, or the other Smith-lead Independence Day, the films at least tried to do something different — it was just with hit and miss results. The news that No. 4 is off the block is still a strange turn of events, especially considering that 2012's Men in Black III was the most successful film in the franchise. After the film wrapped and the reviews were in, Sonnenfeld was reportedly 100 percent on for a fourth film, or possibly a continuation involving Jaden Smith.

Perhaps execs have seen the light, and although the threequel pulled in some big bucks and an improved critical reception from Men in Black II, the cracks were beginning to show in a case of "Men Who Lack." The whimsy of the first film was a distant memory, and although Josh Brolin was a pretty good stand-in as Agent K, having Tommy Lee Jones sidelined in favor of a new face was a missed opportunity for the film. We had spent two 15 years just about warming to Jones and Smith's dysfunctional relationship, and MiB III forgot it for a time travel gimmick.

See also:

Three's A Crowd

'Men in Black' [Credit: Columbia Pictures]
'Men in Black' [Credit: Columbia Pictures]

As trilogies go, Men in Black isn't actually half bad, but given the fact that it has taken 20 years to get just three films under its belt, it is hardly a blockbuster franchise - there are many more films out there that people would rather see a sequel to.

Sadly, the secret organization has fallen into the hole created by many of Sonnenfeld's films and scuppered plans of a fourth outing, at least as we know it. Sonnenfeld was behind The Addams Family, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and Wild Wild West, all of which created wildly imaginative worlds, but all can be seen as a little camp by today's standard of gritty Nolan films and grimy reboots. I personally love Sonnenfeld's work and his films were some of my favorites growing up, so it is certainly a grim state of affairs as we close the book on another chapter of our childhood - it is probably just for the best.

It is sadly no one's fault in particular. The acting has always been solid in the films, bar Michael Jackson's odd cameo in MiB II, while the likes of Brolin, Emma Thompson, Rip Torn, and Johnny Knoxville have been superb supporting players to Jones and Smith. Sonnenfeld remains grateful for his time on the franchise and what it did, however, worryingly teases that someone new could soon take over:

"I wish there were a fourth film. I don't think Will Smith nor I would be involved. But I love the franchise, because I developed it and created it.”

Jump Street The Shark

'Men in Black' [Credit: Columbia Pictures]
'Men in Black' [Credit: Columbia Pictures]

To be honest, the wheels already fell off the wagon when a crossover after 22 Jump Street was announced, and even that originated from a joke by Jonah Hill. Any two franchises that need a crossover so early in their tenure shows just how weak they really are. Secondly, great crossovers are a rare commodity — I'm looking at you Batman v Superman — and I can't see 22 Black Street or Men in Jump Street being an exception, let alone without Smith and Jones. Seeing Tatum and Hill squeeze into black and white suits to battle aliens just doesn't sell it to me.

This leaves us with three options: leave the franchise dead and buried, reboot it as a ultra-realistic horror, or reboot it with an new cast of "young" agents. Personally, I say leave it where it is, because anything else sounds like a living nightmare. Sonnenfeld's departure, and the news that it could continue as Women in Black, has disaster written all over it as another Ghostbusters. Time to whip out the Neuralyzer and forget that idea before it takes root!

Check out the original trailer for Men in Black to bask in its nostalgia, and don't forget our poll below!


Would you like to see more Men in Black?

(Source: Digital Spy)

[Poll Image Credit: Columbia]


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