[[quoteright:333:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/MenInBlack_633.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:333:''[[TagLine "Protecting the Earth from the scum of the universe."]]'']]

->'''James Edwards''': Why the big secret? People are smart. They can handle it.\\
'''Kay''': A ''person'' is smart. ''People'' are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it. Fifteen hundred years ago everybody ''knew'' the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody ''knew'' the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you ''knew'' that humans were alone on this planet. Just imagine what you'll know tomorrow. \\


''Men in Black'' is a series of sci-fi comedy films, consisting of:

* ''Men in Black'' (1997)
* ''Film/MenInBlackII'' (2002)
* ''Film/MenInBlack3'' (2012)

In the first film, an MIB (Men in Black) agent code-named K (Creator/TommyLeeJones) 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 Detective James Edwards (Creator/WillSmith). 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 LaserGuidedAmnesia to anyone not wearing special MIB-issue tinted glasses.

The films are only moderately based on [[ComicBook/MenInBlack 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 [[SeenItAll 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 "[[SpecialPersonNormalName Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones]]." Will Smith also released a tie-in music video entitled "Men In Black."

----
!!This film provides examples of:
* ActuallyThatsMyAssistant: K and J are sent to pick up an alien consultant, and meet a pasty-faced man with a dog:
-->'''J:''' Now that's the worst disguise ever. That guy's gotta be an alien.
-->'''Frank the Pug:''' You don't like it, you can kiss my furry little butt!
* AerithAndBob:
** 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."
** The fake names Kay makes up for himself and Jay while investigating the alien "Hi I'm Special Agent Mannheim/Dr. Leo Manville, this is Special Agent Black/Dr. White"
* AdaptationalHeroism: In the films, Agents Jay, Kay, and Zed are heroes. In the [[ComicBook/MenInBlack obscure comic book the movies are based on]], the organization is downright sinister, K made J AnOfferYouCantRefuse to get him to join and considers him a very disposable pawn, and J is the only 'good guy' in the bunch.
* AlienAutopsy: 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 [[LaserGuidedAmnesia neuralyzed]] individuals for this very reason.
* AliensStealCattle: 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.
* AlmostDeadGuy: [[spoiler:The Arquillian Prince inside the jeweler's body]], who survives long enough to give a cryptic clue to the protagonists. Not that he was being cryptic on purpose. Poor fellow was clearly dealing with a language barrier.
* AmnesiaMissedASpot: 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.
* AmusingAlien: Lots, but the Worm Guys and Jeebs are probably the best example.
* AnimatedAdaptation: [[WesternAnimation/MenInBlack The series]] that used to air on KidsWB and Creator/{{Nickelodeon}}'s short-lived SLAM!
* ApologeticAttacker: ''"Deliver the Galaxy or Earth will be destroyed. Sorry."''
-->"Aw, that's BULLSHIT."
* ArtisticLicenseGunSafety
** 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. J is supposed to be a trained police officer, who should know something about handling firearms[[labelnote:*]]Although police are nowhere near as well trained with firearms as people think they are, this is pretty damn basic.[[/labelnote]]. Even if it doesn't look like a 9mm, he should employ the same basic safety practices as with a real gun, especially knowing it's a sidearm.
** J treated his service pistol in the same stupid way, having it stuffed down the front of his pants earlier in the movie. At least K slapped the gun out of his face.
* AskAStupidQuestion
-->'''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:''' ''Oh'', wait! That was on "[[{{Jeopardy}} Final Jeopardy!]]" last night. Damn, Alex said...
** When asked if he's dealing guns, Jeebs quips that he's openly selling crack, too. "But I still work here 'cause I ''love'' the hours."
** After J has been manhandled by a pregnant disguised squid alien woman in labor and then spat on by her newborn squid baby (in the process of delivering said baby) K asks "Did any of that seem ''weird'' to you?" J's expression is priceless.
* AssholeVictim
** The opening scene where Kay ends up killing the alien "Mikey" had to be re-shot when the producers realized audiences were feeling bad for Mikey.
** Edgar, who shown to be a spousal abuser (at least emotionally, and possibly physically as well) just before [[spoiler:the Bug kills him]].
* BadassCreed
-->''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'' ''[[TitleDrop Men in Black]]''
* BavarianFireDrill: A favorite tactic of the MIB. It's even lampshaded in the novelization: "Act like you're in charge and everybody will act like you are."
-->'''(''Upon arriving at Edgar's farm'')
-->'''Kay:''' Slow down.
-->'''Jay:''' Why?
-->'''Kay:''' Give her time to make the wrong impression. Makes things smoother.
* BehindTheBlack: J and K don't seem to notice the alien giving birth in the back seat of Reggie's car until Reggie pointed her out.
* BerserkButton:
** Do ''not'' squish any bugs in front of Edgar. Just ''don't''. [[spoiler: Turns out this is how J manages to keep Edgar around long enough for K to kill him]].
** Don't mention how K had to leave his girlfriend behind when he joined the MIB organization.
* BetterToDieThanBeKilled: The alien Jay was chasing towards the beginning decides to jump off the roof of the Guggenheim Museum rather than live long enough [[YouHaveFailedMe to be killed for his failure]].
* {{BFG}}: Played with. The Noisy Cricket, possibly the tiniest MIB gun, can cause some serious damage. It's got a nasty recoil too. On the other hand, a gun the size of a shotgun ''can shoot down spaceships''.
* BigApplesauce: Common to all three movies.
** The first did it with the placement of the MIB HQ.
** The second had ''the Statue of Liberty'' used as MIB equipment.
** The third ends with "Empire State of Mind" by AliciaKeys playing in the background.
* BigCreepyCrawlies: The BigBad of the film is one of them.
* BigRedButton
** Don't press one in K's car, unless in a real hurry.
** Don't press the one in J's car unless you know what a PS1 controller is, or if your mother never gave you a Game Boy...
--> "''WHAT IS A GAMEBOY?!''"
* BizarreAlienBiology: Almost all of the aliens the [=MiB=] processes.
* BlatantLies: J is suspicious of K.
-->'''J:''' Have you ever [[BuffySpeak flashy-thinged]] me?
-->'''K:''' No.
-->'''J:''' ''Have you ever flashy-thinged me?''
-->'''K:''' No.
* BlownAcrossTheRoom: Laser weapons ''hurt''.
* BluffTheImposter: Agent K exposes an alien posting as a Mexican immigrant by saying insulting and threatening things in Spanish, but in a cheery tone of voice, to see if he reacted appropriately.
* BookEnds:
** "They're beautiful, aren't they?"
** "See you around, ___." "No, ___, you won't."
** The opening credits scroll over a bug flying in a sinister pattern. SPLAT. Gotcha -- turns out the bug [[RuleOfSymbolism is of no significance, at least as far as people are concerned]]. The last shot of the movie reveals our universe to be a plaything for giant alien kids.
* BrickJoke: 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..."
* BringIt: J to Edgar.
-->'''J:''' Don't ''start'' nothin'... ''(squish!)'' ... won't ''be'' nothin'!
* BrokenMasquerade: K's introduction to aliens on Earth - and more-or-less how the ''Film/MenInBlack'' got started.
* BuffySpeak: J calls the neuralyzer the "Flashy-Thing," and refers to getting neuralyzed as "flashy-thinged." This continues for most of the first film, with J using terms like "the little dude inside the big dude's head."
* CallBack: When J runs out of the factory after Boris attempts to kill Griffin, he runs out onto the top of a parked car and takes aim with a standard revolver. This whole scene is exactly like the scene in the first film where he is given the 'Noisy Cricket' and attempts to stop the bad guy, virtually everything from the weapon he's not happy about to his missing the bad guy and the collateral damage is and exact replica of the same scene.
* CastingGag: The posters play on the fact that the film's two main stars had the last names [[WillSmith "Smith"]] and [[TommyLeeJones "Jones"]]... you know, the kind of super-plain codenames you'd expect two anonymous, black-suited government agents to use.
* ChekhovsGun
** 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.
* ChekhovsSkill: 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 jeweler's cat Orion and the "Orion's Belt" clue. It's made all the more awesome by the novelization revealing his rationale for shooting Tiffany was CORRECT, something none of the other applicants succeeded at. He also remembers the flying saucers at the World's Fair in Queens, realizing that the Bug could use the mothballed ships to escape.
* CodeName: Each agent is supplied with one, but it's the first letter of their first name ('''J'''ames, '''K'''evin, '''L'''aurel, '''M'''[[Music/MichaelJackson ichael]]). ExpandedUniverse has them go into detail with it.
* TheComicallySerious
** Nothing about the job fazes K [[SeenItAll in the slightest]], so his deadpan approach to all the outlandish alien craziness is hilarious. In an interview, Creator/TommyLeeJones says he actually ''is'' this; the way to make great comedy is stay close to Creator/WillSmith so the funny spills over. WordOfGod also describes it as something of an EnforcedTrope, as he wanted Creator/WillSmith to be the only one who was ''trying'' to be funny.
--->'''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.
* CoolCar: Each agent, and each of them has a hidden form that comes in handy. "Old and Busted... new hotness."
* CoolShades: They've got a purpose, too - they protect against the mind-wiping effects of the Neuralyzer.
* CoveredInGunge: J and K get covered in bug guts after K blows him in half.
* CovertGroupWithMundaneFront: In the beginning, Kay introduces himself and Dee as "INS, Division Six", much to the confusion of the border patrol officers. This extended to the animated series, where Jay and Kay would introduce themselves in any position tangentially-related to the situation as "Division Six".
* CreatorCameo: Director Barry Sonnenfeld and his daughter are seen as two of the aliens under surveillance by the [=MIB=].
* CreepyCockroach: 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).
* CustomUniform: [=MIB 1=] ends with J wearing custom shades and looking more like a rap mogul.
* CuttingTheKnot: J's solution to the problem of no surface to write on.
* DarkIsNotEvil: 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.
-->''Good guys dress in black; remember that. In case we ever come face to face and make contact.''
* DidYouJustFlipOffCthulhu: The tow truck driver doesn't get intimidated by "Edgar", even when he takes out his shotgun. Unfortunately for him, he still gets shot by "Edgar".
-->'''Tow Truck Driver:''' (''revealing his own pistol'') Please...
* DistractedByTheSexy:
-->'''J:''' She's got a whole "Queen of the Undead" thing.\\
'''K:''' What about the body?\\
'''J:''' Great body.\\
'''K:''' The DEAD body.
* TheDogIsAnAlien: Frank the Pug.
* DomesticAbuser: In the short time before [[spoiler: he's killed and inhabited by the Bug]], Edgar demeans his wife's cooking, calls her lazy and threatens to hit her.
* DoNotCallMeSir: K says this line to one of the Border Patrol agents in the opening.
* DoNotTauntCthulhu: Both the tow truck driver and the morgue receptionist learn this the hard way.
* DrivesLikeCrazy: K. Just push the BigRedButton, and his car grows a rocket. He then drives on the roof of the Queens-Midtown Tunnel while singing along to Elvis Presley's "Promised Land", and pays the toll without missing a beat.
* DroolHello: 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 [[CeilingCorpse now we know what happened to the clerk...]]
* EatMe: TropeNamer. K goads the Bug into eating him so he can retrieve his gun and blow it up from the inside.
* EccentricExterminator: The first movie gives us Ed, who is a pretty normal fella (or as normal as someone played by Vincent D'Onofrio can be...) until a giant bug from outer space uses his body as a disguise and steals an exterminator's van, giving us quite a bit of this vibe.
* ElvisHasLeftThePlanet: according to K, "He's not dead, he just went home."
* EnemyRisingBehind: After K blasts his way out of the Bug, he and J sit back to reflect on the moment while the [[spoiler:upper half of the Bug crawls behind them to attack, only to be blasted at the last second by Laurel using J's gun]].
* EpicFail: Played With; "May I ask why you felt [[CardboardPal little Tiffany]] deserved to die?". 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. Zed is not amused. The novelization reveals J was actually RIGHT in his reasoning and had shot the only real threat[[note]]This is alluded to in the movie as well; in the conversation with K that immediately follows, Z brings up J's test scores and flippant attitude, but doesn't argue that simulation against him[[/note]].
* ETGaveUsWiFi: 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.
* EtTuBrute: The worms are spotted leaving MIB headquarters with a cartful of cigarettes, leaving their co-workers to rot.
-->'''Zed:''' You SORRY LITTLE INGRATES!
* EurekaMoment: J figures out the Arquillian prince's last words meant when he sees [[spoiler: Frank barking at a cat.]]
* EverythingIsAnIpodInTheFuture: A rare instance of this trope being used in the nineties.
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: [[spoiler:Orion's Belt... technically, collar, but whatever.]]
* ExactTimeToFailure: The Arquillians give MIB a time limit on getting the [[{{Macguffin}} Galaxy]] back before they destroy the Earth. The movie seems to kind of waver and forget about it when crunch time arrives though (the last we see is 8 minutes), and when J and K finally retrieve it, all K has to do is say it's in his possession, without any mention of the timer from Zed. The Arquillians must be lenient.
* ExactWords
** 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 "There's a deal" 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 [[BondOneLiner means this quite literally]], having broken his body in half and stuffed him into a shelf.
* ExposedExtraterrestrials: Whenever the MIB are around.
* ExtranormalInstitute: The [=MIB=].
* ExtranormalPrison: There's a prison for alien criminals on the moon. The guards have futuristic technology, and the fact that escape means exposure to vacuum also helps.
* FaceStealer: The Bug.
* {{Fainting}}: An Emotional Faint happens after the Bug gets into his new Edgar suit. Edgar's wife Beatrice tells him that "Your skin is hanging off your bones." The Bug pulls Edgar's face back into a horrible distorted mask and Beatrice faints dead away.
* FantasticRacism
** 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 K, are probably [[AlwaysChaoticEvil very much the same]].
** This seems to be a major factor of most aliens as K explains that human thought is so primitive it's considered an infectious disease in the better galaxies.
** Agent J uses this to [[BerserkButton provoke]] the [[InsectoidAliens Space Cockroach]] into attacking him by crushing normal cockroaches under his feet.
-->'''Agent J:''' [[PunctuatedPounding Don't start nothin'...]] ''(squish!)'' [[PunctuatedPounding ...won't be nothin']] ''(squish)''
* {{Fanservice}}: Linda Fiorentino getting kidnapped by a giant disguised insect from space, struggling to scape all while showing us her rather lovely buttocks and legs. Likewise, when she gets stuck in a nearby tree for a good deal of the final battle.
* FashionDissonance: 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 TheNineties. 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.
* FictionAsCoverUp: 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.
* FirstDayFromHell: J becomes involved in a plot to save the galaxy within his first day or so. Subverted in that K berates his actions that could expose them by informing J that [[TheWorldIsAlwaysDoomed there is always a crisis on their hands]].
--> '''K''': There is always an Arquillian battle cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet, and the only way these people can get on with their happy lives is that they do not know about it!
* ForbiddenChekhovsGun
-->'''K:''' Remember when I said 'Don't push the little red button?'
-->'''J:''' Yeah?
-->'''K:''' Push the little red button.
-->''[J 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]''
* {{Foreshadowing}}: The first line in the movie is "Goddamned bugs!"
* FourthWallPsych: When the bug invades Rosenberg's jewlery shop, he appears to walk up to the camera and punch it, cracking the lens. Then the supposedly-ruined camera pans out and we see that he's actually trying to break through the glass door to the shop.
* FreezeFrameBonus
** The screen with the "celebrities who are secretly aliens" (includes [[CreatorCameo director Barry Sonnenfeld, producer]] Creator/StevenSpielberg, and Creator/SylvesterStallone) - which later singles out J's ex-teacher.
** In one scene, there are two brief shots of [[spoiler:Orion the cat]] where the name on its collar (belt) is visible before the secret is revealed.
* FreudianThreat: "I want you on the next transport off this rock or I'm going to shoot you where it don't grow back."
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: 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. Also, while K and J are looking at the screen showing the disguised aliens, a group of MIB office workers are conversing in the background, with one of them standing on the ceiling.
* FunWithAcronyms
-->'''J:''' See this badge?! Huh?! N-Y-P-D! Means I will k'''N'''ock '''Y'''o' '''P'''unk-ass '''D'''own!
* GasLeakCoverup
** 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.
** PlayedForLaughs in one scene when Agent J tries to give the standard cover story without having a neuralyzer.
* GeniusBruiser: 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.
* GoodCopBadCop: Used in the scene with Jeebs, before James is officially recruited. K threatens to blow Jeebs' head off if he doesn't talk, and James plays along, saying that K's not messing around. What James doesn't realize is that K wasn't bluffing, and he quickly gets in over his head.
* GoThroughMe: Humorously played with:
-->'''J''': There's only one way off this planet, baby, and that's through me! ''[the Bug promptly slaps him aside]''
* GovernmentConspiracy: Averted. The first agents ''were'' part of the US Government, but not anymore.
-->'''J:''' What branch of the government do we report to?
-->'''K:''' None, they ask too many questions.
* GoToAlias: "Division Six".
* HalfwayPlotSwitch: Done very briefly. After the ColdOpen, the plot focuses on James running down a criminal who turns out to be an alien giving portents of doom. While being berated by his superiors for this ridiculous story, he is approached by a Dr. Laurel, a coroner who examined the body claims to believe him. She whispers an address to him and tells him to meet her secretly afterwards - leading the audience to believe that the movie will be a Sci-Fi mystery or thriller, involving James and the coroner as {{Muggle}}s unearthing TheMasquerade... [[ShaggyDogStory and then Laurel is neuralized immediately after revealing her suspicions to James, cutting this plotline short immediately, leading into the agent in-training story the movie truly is.]] She still becomes involved later.
* {{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. From the novelization: "How can it do that?" "[[TakeOurWordForIt They have their ways.]] And using those ways just makes it even more angry." It also explicitly states that there's some literal Hammerspace going on, and that this is a natural ability the Bugs have.
** A less obvious example is the submachinegun-sized weapon the cephalapoid pulls out of ''nowhere'' when Jay is trying to arrest him.
* HandCannon
** Played straight with the huge revolver the tow-truck driver pulls out when Bug!Edgar threatens him with a shotgun. He's killed by Edgar's shotgun blast before he can use it.
** Inverted by the Noisy Cricket: a tiny, unseemly weapon resembling a hypodermic needle with a handle, pauses momentarily and chirps like a cricket when you pull the trigger, and then promptly annihilates whatever it was pointed at and knocks you flat on your butt. The recoil usually hurls Agent J about fifteen feet, no matter how he tries to brace himself
* HateSink: The guy the Bug kills and starts impersonating will, suffice it to say, not be missed. In his possible <60 seconds of screen time he establishes himself as a capricious, abusive jackass with strong misogynistic traits. Good riddance.
* {{Herald}}: The MIB organization (and by extension, the existence of aliens) is this for J.
* HistoricalInJoke
** Roswell. The 1964 World's Fair is shown to have hosted some really big [[FlyingSaucer UFOs]].
** The super bouncy ball is credited for the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_City_blackout_of_1977 1977 New York blackout]], a great prank by the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Attractor Great Attractor]], who thought it was funny as hell.
* HistoricalRapSheet: See the bouncy ball entry on HistoricalInJoke above.
* HughMann: Edgar.
* HumansAreMorons: "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?
* IgnoranceIsBliss: "[[TheWorldIsAlwaysDoomed There's always an Arquillian battle cruiser, or a Corillian death ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet]], and the only way these people can get on with their happy lives is that they [[{{Masquerade}} DO NOT KNOW ABOUT IT!]]"
* ILoveTheDead: Implied for Laurel. As a bonus, Laurel at one point explicitly states the inverse, "I hate the living."
* InNameOnly: The first five minutes of the movie is a faithful reproduction of the first few pages of the first issue of the [[Comicbook/MenInBlack comic]]. After that, they have almost nothing in common.
* ISurrenderSuckers: "Edgar", towards the end.
-->'''"Edgar":''' Oh, I see... I'll put my hands on my head... Like this?
-->(''[[OneWingedAngel tears Edgar's skin off]]'')
* ImmortalLifeIsCheap: K blowing Jeebs' head off isn't murder, it's interrogation.
* ImportedAlienPhlebotinum: In the games, the Aliens are responsible for ''everything''. Also, the Galaxy in the first movie.
* InsectoidAliens: The alien Bug, a giant cockroach wearing a new Edgar suit.
* InsignificantLittleBluePlanet: ZigZagged 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, EarthIsTheCenterOfTheUniverse. This then gets worked into the film's AnthropicPrinciple: the Men In Black keep up TheMasquerade 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 [[HumansAreMorons humans are so stupid]] that the only way Earth can thrive is as a neutral zone. As long as the Men In Black are around, [[IWantMyJetpack we will never get out into space.]]
* InsultBackfire
** Human intelligence is so primitive that it's considered an infectious disease on other planets. "Kinda makes you proud, doesn't it?"
** Earlier, after Kay explains the history of the MIB, James asks "When the last time you had a CAT scan?", to which Kay answers [[ComicallyMissingThePoint "About six months ago, company policy."]]
* InternalRetcon: The whole point of the Neuralyzers.
* InventorOfTheMundane: The MIB owns the patents to some 'out of town' inventions, naming a few which make quite a bit of sense; Velcro (invented by NASA), microwave ovens (invented by a military defense contractor), liposuction (pre-dates alien contact, but was mostly a creative form of mutilation before the development of ultrasonics - another military invention)...
* InvisibleAliens: More like disguised so as to appear invisible to those who have a WeirdnessCensor.
* ItsUpToYou: The other police officers aren't fit enough to keep up with Jay's first alien. Jay lampshades this.
* JapaneseTourist: J lands on a bus full of them when chasing the perp during the ColdOpening.
* JerkAss: Edgar was like this before he got killed and ended up body snatched by the Bug.
* JustEatHim: K, going to get back his gun from Edgar's throat in the first film's climax. ''"Eat me.'' '''EAT ME!!"'''
* KillAndReplace: The Bug does this to Edgar.
* KnuckleCracking: After the Bug kills Edgar, dons his new Edgar suit and climbs out of the hole made by his crashing starship, he cracks his neck.
* LameExcuse: The human smuggler at the beginning of the movie tells the Border Patrol he's been fishing in Cuernavaca to explain why he's driving across the Mexican border late at night. The Border Patrol agent has already busted him for smuggling on several previous occasions, so he doesn't buy this excuse for one second.
* LaserGuidedAmnesia: 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. Combined with NoFourthWall in one of the commercials, in which J and K ask viewers how they liked the movie, then fire the Neuralyzer directly at the camera, and then ''invite the audience to go see the film: it's full of surprises''.
* LaserGuidedKarma: The verbally abusive farmer spends just enough time on screen [[FlatCharacter doing his thing]] so that the audience will have absolutely zero sympathy when the bug's meteor crashes on his vehicle of choice.
-->'''Farmer:''' ''The only thing that pulls its weight around here is my goddamn truck!''
* LawOfInverseRecoil: You will not break that "damn thing" Noisy Cricket, J. It will break you.
* LaymansTerms: Zed compares Earth's predicament to being the last party-goer who gets stuck with the check.
* LenoDevice: 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.")
* LongList: K and Zed muse over the NYC and Jersey-based aliens who have already flown the coop. The list ends with Staten Island ("Gone, thank God.").
* LosingYourHead: Jeebs. K shoots him in the head and he regrows it, with complaints about the inconvenience.
-->'''Jeebs:''' You insensitive pricks! Do you have any idea how much that stings?
-->'''K:''' Show us the merchandise or you'll lose another head, Jeebs.
* LostInTranslation: The Arquillian Prince says that "The galaxy lies on Orion's Belt." [[spoiler: Orion is actually his cat's name and the "belt" is actually a mistranslation of "collar."]]
* MacGuffin: The Galaxy, in the first movie.
* {{Masquerade}}: Most aliens use prosthetics to pass off as human, animal, or machine.
* MeaningfulEcho: See BookEnds, above.
-->''(in the opening scene)''\\
'''D''': I'll tell you, Kay... I will miss the chase. I will miss the chase.\\
'''K''': No, Dee. You won't. ''(neuralizes him)''\\
\\
''(after the climax)''\\
'''K''': See you around, Jay.\\
'''J''': No. You won't. [[spoiler: ''(neuralizes him)'']]
* MemoryWipingCrew: A containment crew is called in after every alien encounter, for obvious reasons.
* TheMenInBlack: The good guy version.
* MentorOccupationalHazard: Averted. [[spoiler:K]] survives the Bug's innards to retrieve his gun and blast his way out.
* MinorCrimeRevealsMajorPlot: Disappearance of a man after encountering a UFO and a suicide --> theft of a galaxy and possible destruction of the Earth.
* MobileSuitHuman: 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.
* MoodWhiplash
** J is more than happy to help K with doing the whole GoodCopBadCop routine while questioning Jeebs, until K ''holy shit'' blows Jeebs's head off, at which point J drops the act
-->'''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 prrrrricks! D'you have any idea how much that ''stings''?!
* {{Muggles}}: Any person not part of the MIB is called a "Neutral".
* MultiArmedMultitasking: The twin {{Mission Control}}s in the first movie, and the mail-sorting alien in the sequel.
* MyCard: K hands one to J as part of recruitment.
* MyHovercraftIsFullOfEels: How some alien languages work.
* MythologyGag: When Edgar first meets the Bug, their discussion about the gun is a reference to the surprisingly obscure comic the movie was based on. It [[spoiler:turns out ''much'' better for the farmer]] in that one, though - the bugs REALLY needed his gun (for a high-stakes scavenger hunt), but not so urgently that [[spoiler:they couldn't wait him out]].
* NaiveNewcomer: J in the first movie indulges in UncleTomfoolery. 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.
* NeedleInAStackOfNeedles: 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. However, K makes him stop, saying "He's not leaving [Earth] in a cab."
* NoAccountingForTaste: Edgar and Beatrice.
--> '''J:''' ''(to K)'' The dude was that ugly ''before'' he was an alien?
* NoSuchAgency: PlayedWith. Originally a Federal agency, the MIB splintered off since the government "asked too many questions." They erased any and all records and memories of their existence from their own government, getting their funding from the patents of alien technologies.
* NoisyShutUp
** The Bug losing patience with Laurel and J's bickering.
** '''J''': "Hey, OLD GUYS."
* NonAnswer: 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, [[GenreSavvy 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.
* NonverbalMiscommunication: J (understandably) misreading Laurel's frantic signals that the Bug is hiding in the trolley as a come-on.
* NoodleIncident: Agent K tells Agent J, "you should've been here for the Zeronion migration in 1968."
* NotThisOneThatOne: Agent J is shown an awesome-looking Series-4 De-atomizer, but is actually issued a puny-looking Noisy Cricket. On [=YouTube=] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCSwIiclCUY around 2:00]].
-->'''Agent K:''' [shows J a [[{{BFG}} LARGE]] pistol] Series 4 De-atomizer.
-->'''Agent J:''' That's what I'm talking about!
-->'''Agent K:''' [shows J a tiny pistol] Noisy Cricket. [hands it to him]
-->'''Agent J:''' Kay, no, no, come on, man. You get a Series 4 De-atomizer, and I get a little midget Cricket? [snip] Feel like I'm gonna break this damn thing!
:: This one is actually a subversion of the usual gag, as the weapon J gets really IS the better one; it just doesn't look like it. J is later surprised when the weapon causes massive explosions akin to grenades. (While hurling him backward due to recoil.)
* ObfuscatingStupidity: 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.
* ObviousStuntDouble: An infamous scene reveals that Will Smith's stunt double during the "Remember the little red button? Push the little red button" gag was Caucasian.
* OffBridgeOntoVehicle: Played with during the ColdOpening, when Jay is seen chasing a perp who jumps onto a tour bus full of {{Japanese Tourist}}s. Instead of watching the perp get away, Jay jumps down after said perp.
* OhCrap: Only once does Agent K briefly lose his composure, thanks to witnessing the Bug revealing itself.
* OneWingedAngel: Edgar's final form, a giant, angry cockroach with teeth.
* OrphanedPunchline: "But honey, this one's eating my popcorn!" [[http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071126195830AAW1HPu Here's the rest of the joke.]] The same joke also appeared in ''Film/TheSting''.
* {{Parody}}: The film parodies the witterings of {{conspiracy theorist}}s by taking them at face value.
* PassingTheTorch: At the end of the film, by K giving J the neuralyzer.
* PersonWithTheClothing: Black suits, black shades.
* PlanetLooters: Edgar's race feeds off intergalactic wars.
* PlanetTerra: In the novelization, Edgar calls humans "terries."
* PlausibleDeniability
* PossessionBurnout: The "Edgar Suit" gets pretty shabby by the end of the movie.
* PreAssKickingOneLiner:
-->'''Kay:''' (''cocks gun'') Roaches check in...
-->'''Jay:''' (''cocks gun'') ...They don't check out.
* PublicSecretMessage: Agent K explains that tabloids, which are assumed to be hoaxes by {{muggles}}, are in fact based on true events behind TheMasquerade (since tabloids have less WeirdnessCensor than "serious" newspapers). Later, when [[spoiler:Agent K retires]], Agent J notices an article with [[spoiler: Agent K's photo and an article about a postal worker who returned to his old job after years in a coma]], revealing [[spoiler: Agent K]]'s fate, which then becomes a major plot point in the second film.
* PunctuatedForEmphasis: When J catches up to the perp he's chasing:
-->'''J:''' N! Y! P! D! Means I will [=kNock!=] Yo! Punk-ass! Down!
* PutDownYourGunAndStepAway: 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.
* QuietCryForHelp: Laurel is talking to J in the morgue while the hidden Edgar is watching her, having threatened her with death if she gives him away. [[PlayedForLaughs J persistently misinterprets Laurel's attempts to alert him as sexual come-ons]].
* RaceLift: J was white in the original comics and was supposed to be played by Chris O'Donnell who was filming ''Film/BatmanAndRobin'' at the time.
* RecursiveReality
** 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.
** ''Film/MenInBlack 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. 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.
* RecycledInSpace: In-universe example; K refers to Earth as ''{{Casablanca}}'' [[AC: for aliens]].
* RefugeInAudacity
** K tells J the truth about the MIB but J doesn't believe him.
-->'''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.
** [[spoiler:K neuralyzes J after he's identified the gun]].
* ReplicantSnatching
-->'''Edgar (the farmer):''' You can have my gun (DramaticGunCock) [[TemptingFate when you pry it from my cold dead fingers]].
-->'''Edgar (the bug):''' [[LiteralGenie Your proposal is acceptable]]. ''[sucks Edgar into the hole]''
* RunningGag: Whenever J neuralizes anyone, he tends to give them long rambling speeches in which he gives meaningful personal advice about their lives, goes into wild irrelevant tangents about the situation, and encourages them to do exciting and/or fun things - particularly as a counterpoint to K, who always gives very brusque and to-the-point memories and wants to be done with it. It pops up once in this movie, but really takes off in the second and third films.
* SadistTeacher: J discovers that one he had in grade school is actually an alien from one of the moons of Jupiter.
* SafetyInMuggles: While the Neuralizer makes fighting outside doable, the general idea is to avoid being seen when fighting aliens.
* SaltAndPepper: Agent J, played by WillSmith, and Agent K, played by TommyLeeJones, are partners. Kay exhibits a very serious demeanor, rarely joking or smiling and giving very matter-of-fact responses. Jay has an energetic, enthusiastic attitude and refusal to strictly follow authority that Kay admired when he first met NYPD officer James Edwards who would become Agent J.
* SciFiWritersHaveNoSenseOfScale: Very nearly averted. K explains that a grouchy alien was stuck in customs after traveling 17 trillion miles...or a bit under 3 light-years. While this wouldn't get you to the nearest known star to our sun (Proxima Centauri), it would at least put you in interstellar space.
* ScreamingBirth: The alien woman... plus a few tentacles shaking a screaming J around like a ragdoll [[FunnyBackgroundEvent while K casually questions her husband, oblivious to this]].
%%
%%Please don't put SecretTestOfCharacter here without taking it to discussion.
%%
* SeenItAll: Agent K. J keeps trying this, but K manages to surprise him. Many other MIB personnel have a similar reaction to what happens; Zed doesn't even look up from his desk when the bouncy-ball starts careening around his office, except to move his head slightly out of the way.
* SherlockScan: {{Parodied|Trope}} in the ShootingGallery sequence. "She's about to [[KillerRabbit start some shit]], Zed!"
* ShoutOut
** The guy behind the Locksmith counter looks remarkably like [[TheRockyHorrorPictureShow Riff Raff]].
** Agent J tells K not to "go all [[Franchise/{{Dragnet}} Jack Webb]]" on the coroner.
* SightedGunsAreLowTech: Despite the high tech look of their giant guns, J and K don't actually need to aim them to shoot down a UFO. Could be that they fire heat seeking rounds, or some such advanced tech that replaces the need for manual aiming.
* SignedUpForTheDental: The Worm Guys and Frank.
* TheSmurfettePrinciple: The film doesn't have many female agents. The end of the first film shows agent L, a woman who becomes J's new partner. However she is neuralyzed between films and given a WrittenInAbsence to make way for the return of Creator/TommyLeeJones.
* StabTheSalad: K pulls a knife on a Mexican immigrant and swings it toward him - and slices open his clothing, revealing an alien hiding inside.
* StalkingIsLove: K uses the MIB's super-advanced SpySatellites to spy on his old girlfriend while she's out gardening.
* StealthInsult
** Zed pays one to the applicants.
--> '''Zed:''' Congratulations, you're everything we've come to expect from years of government training[[note]]inadequate[[/note]].
** Agent J also gives one while he's still an NYPD officer
--> '''Overweight Cop:''' If you were ''half'' the man I was--
--> '''James:''' I ''am'' half the man you are.
* TheStoic: Agent K.
* SuitUpOfDestiny: Done when J puts on his MIB uniform for the first time; it even provides the trope's page quote.
* SunglassesAtNight: See CoolShades.
* SuspiciouslySpecificDenial: How the Men in Black implant new memories sometimes, after Neuralyzing someone.
* SwallowedWhole: The Bug to K.
* TechnoBabble: Plenty.
--> '''K:''' Set for pulsar level five, subsonic implosion factor two.
--> '''J:''' What?
--> '''K:''' Just shoot the damn thing on the count of three!
* TemptingFate
** "The only thing pulling its weight around here is my goddamn ''truck!''" '''FWOOM! SMASH!''' "Figures."
** J being won over by the cuteness of a baby squid. Right before it barfs on him.
* TheyLookLikeUsNow: Non-humanoid aliens have ways of blending in, usually some kind of robotic human suit. Or in Edgar's case, an organic one.
* ThingOMeter: Not a literal device, but
--> '''J''': This definitely rates about a 9.0 on my weird-shit-o-meter.
* ThisExplainsSoMuch: 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.
* ThreatBackfire
** The aforementioned threat made to Edgar the cockroach in the ExactWords entry. And the result.
** 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.")
* TwoOfYourEarthMinutes
** Parodied and played straight. A galactic week is one hour. The Arquellian message displays a timer labeled "Earth Time Remaining", counting down the hour.
** And the MIB operates on a 37-hour-day. According to Zed, "You get used to it. Or you have a psychotic episode."
* TwoRoadsBeforeYou: 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.
* UncleTomfoolery: J.
* UnflinchingFaithInTheBrakes: When the agents bring down the spacecraft, they stand and let it come to them. J at the least looks around nervously but otherwise doesn't move.
* UnPerson: As Zed says in the quote, it's part of the initiation process. Leaving agents get their identities back, however, or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof.
* TheUnpronounceable: Too many aliens.
* UnusuallyUninterestingSight
** The movie is full of this. It's implied that since most aliens live in New York, people just chalk it all up to New York being weird.
** Kay actually invokes it by chatting over a cup of coffee with the Worm Guys, when James remained doubtful.
* VanHelsingHateCrimes: The MIB are an aversion of this and only seem to accept candidates who are also an aversion of this. The rejected candidates all played this trope straight during the target practice session.
* VideoFullOfFilmClips: The Will Smith song of the same name.
* VisualPun: The opening scene has an illegal alien[[note]]as in, an alien violating parole[[/note]] dressed as an illegal alien[[note]]as in, posing as an illegal Mexican migrant being smuggled cross the border in the back of a van[[/note]].
* VomitIndiscretionShot: Reggie's newborn "squid" child coughs up on J shortly after it's born.
* WainscotSociety: The alien immigrants have their own rather chaotic social systems running within human society.
* WelcomeEpisode: The first half of the movie.
* WelcomedToTheMasquerade: After James has a close encounter with an alien assassin, Agent K recruits him into the Men in Black organization and gives him a tour of the facilities.
* WhamLine: [[spoiler:"I haven't been training a partner. I've been training a replacement."]]
* WhatAPieceOfJunk: J refers to K's Crown Victoria as a "Ford P.O.S.". He finds out very quickly that it's outfitted with alien tech that makes it outperform anything else on the road.
* WhatDoesThisButtonDo: K's car has the little red button.
* WhatTheHellAreYou: James, after the first alien he meets scales the side of a building and reveals his eye gills.
* WhereDaWhiteWomenAt: Laurel makes a pass (okay, a few) at J. [[spoiler: In the ending the duo are revealed to be partners.]]
* WhoYouGonnaCall: That's right.
* WistfulAmnesia: J and Laurel (who had previously met, but were later neuralized) both think the other looks familiar when they meet for the first time (again). It's implied that those who have been neuralized do retain scraps of memory, usually chalked up to deja vu.
* TheWorldIsAlwaysDoomed: K always does this. Same with Zed. Provides the page quote even!
* TheWorldIsNotReady: The [=MiB's=] mantra of why they're keeping alien immigration a secret from the rest of the Earth.
* WorstNewsJudgmentEver: Justified as the tabloids are a better source of alien info than "mainstream" papers.
-->'''K:''' But go ahead, read the New York Times if you want. They get lucky sometimes.
* WorstWhateverEver: J's first impression of Frank is "[[YourCostumeNeedsWork worst disguise ever]]".
* WorthlessYellowRocks: The two Arquillians at the diner are chatting and one notices an ornamental case on the table. He asks with awe, "Is that it?" The other replies, "No, just some diamonds for your children."
* YouAreWhoYouEat: The "Edgar-suit."
* YouHaveNoIdeaWhoYoureDealingWith: Stated almost verbatim by K at the beginning of the movie.
* YourHeadASplode: Jeebs, hilariously. Don't worry, his race regenerates.

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:: [[TheStinger Now,]] [[SchmuckBait if you could just look right here...]]

[[LaserGuidedAmnesia http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Neuralizer_5336.jpg]]
[[caption-width:332:"Damn, what a gullible breed."]]

(*[[LaserGuidedAmnesia FLASH]]*)

[[SelfDemonstratingArticle You weren't at your computer for the past few minutes]]. You got up, got something to eat and then visited a few other sites. Checked some blogs, answered a couple e-mails, nothing too eventful or life changing. After a few minutes, you returned to Wiki/TVTropes and found a completely different page to view.
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