Australian Council on Children and the Media

Men in Black International

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Not recommended under 12, PG to 15 (Violence, language, scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Men in Black International
  • a review of Men in Black International completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 18 June 2019.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children aged 8–13 Not recommended for children under the age of 12 due to violence, scary scenes and language.
Children over the age of 13 Parental guidance is recommended for children between the ages of 12-15. Children over the age of 15 could see this film with or without parental guidance.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Men in Black International
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Science fiction themes and violence
Length 115 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The latest instalment in the Men in Black series follows the life of Molly, who has an alien encounter as a child. This chance meeting has a profound effect on her and she dedicates her life to finding out the truth about alien life forms, their impact on Earth and the secret agency that interacts with them. Finally, as a young woman, she manages to track down the Men in Black Offices and, with tenacity and determination, get herself hired on a probationary basis. She is soon sent to London as Agent M (Tessa Thompson) where she finds herself working a case with the highly decorated and reckless Agent H (Chris Hemsworth). They are charged with showing the Jubabian diplomat Vungus (Kayvan Novak) a night on the town.  The Hive, an evil alien force intent on taking over the world, sends alien shape shifting twins (Laurent and Larry Bourgeois) to take a secret weapon from Vungus and then kill him along with anyone else who gets in the way. Shortly before dying Vungus passes the weapon to Agent M warning her not to trust anyone in MIB. When the weapon is stolen from them Agents M and H set off to get it back, find the mole in their agency and save the world regardless of personal risk or what it may ultimately cost.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Saving the word from an alien species; good versus evil; the complexity of human relationships.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • There is frequent violence throughout the film including cars exploding in mid-air, roads that are turned into fire, space ships that crash, and characters that are involved in fist fights, slamming, punching, strangling each other and shooting with all kinds of space guns.
  • A creepy multiple headed snake is used in a card game. It is then knocked off the table in a fight where it attacks and kills people. Agent H begs for his life as the poison rushes through his body. It is inferred that he survives when he trades sexual favours for the antidote.
  • Evil aliens are shot repeatedly and large holes are left in their bodies. They quickly regenerate and keep coming after the agents.
  • An alien queen and her retinue are murdered on a chess board. The act itself is not shown just the characters lying motionless, broken and beaten after the fact.
  • A shop keeper in Morocco is also murdered in the attack. His lifeless body left on the floor.
  • Agent H borrows a bike from a man in Marrakesh and he and Agent M take off through the marketplace, crashing into things and causing chaos as they try to outwit both evil aliens and MIB agents. They eventually crash in the desert but neither one is injured.
  • When testing out the secret weapon on its lowest level, Agent M inadvertently makes a crater the size of the Grand Canyon in the desert.
  • The secret weapon is fired at the The Hive - exploding the creepy alien and his long tangle of gruesome tentacles.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • There are numerous scenes in this film that could frighten children under five. Many aliens appear monstrous or creepy and there are repeated alien /human transformation scenes where characters shape shift. The Hive has sent two evil creatures with glowing eyes and incredible powers that cause terror and destruction wherever they go. The intensity of these scenes accompanied by the glowing eyes and loud dramatic music could be very scary for many children.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • The lights go out in a shop and the man who goes out to the darkness to fix it is attacked by an evil force sent by The Hive. He is shown being agonizingly electrocuted, his face is slowly melted off and his body reduced to a pile of goo. The evil aliens take his face to use as their own. The scene is suspenseful, intense and very graphic.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Children on the younger side of this age bracket and sensitive older children may also be frightened or disturbed by some of the above mentioned scenes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

It is unlikely that children over the age of thirteen will find scenes in this film frightening.

Product placement

None noted. 

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Agent H is told to take a diplomatic alien out and show him a “good time”. There is innuendo that a sexual encounter should be part of the plan.
  • Agent H makes a masturbation joke.
  • A male alien provocatively gyrates his pelvis at agent M.
  • Agent M accuses Agent H of ‘pimping her out’ and says that she “will not fornicate with the Jubabian.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Agent H is shown waking up in bed with a female alien whose tentacled arm is slung across his naked chest. He is wearing underwear and she is still covered with sheets but a one night stand is implied.
  • A group of naked, scrawny, stick-like, aliens walk through a door together. They are seen from behind.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Glowing blue alien drinks are consumed while Agent H gambles with a group of aliens.
  • A hard core alien drug is referenced.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • “Shit” is used occasionally as are the terms: “Jackass,” “Ass-clown,” “Hell,” “Dick,” “Sucks,” “Crap,” “Morons,” “Doofus,” and “Assholes.”

In a nutshell

Men in Black International is an action packed science fiction film. The plot is predictable and the dialogue is somewhat lacking but the special effects are excellent and the film will likely be enjoyed by mature audiences and fans of former Men in Black films.

The main messages from this movie are that looks can be deceiving, that good will triumph over evil and that if you persist at something long enough eventually your efforts will pay off.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Perseverance
  • Teamwork
  • Wisdom
  • Trustworthiness
  • Courage

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as.

  • The use of violence to solve conflict
  • Reckless behaviours and the impact that this has for others
  • A lack of trust or honesty and the effect this can have on relationships

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