Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Kumail Nanjiani, Liam Neeson
Director: F. Gary Gray
This summer has just been full of unnecessary sequels and remakes, and Men In Black International does nothing to deviate from this formula, creating yet another example of Hollywood only cares about their bottom line and rarely cares about the product the audience gets. We’ve seen countless attempts this summer to capitalize on a previously established franchise and yet again this movie continues the trend of missing the mark. Unoriginal, uninspired, and unexciting, Men In Black International sticks to what makes money rather than what makes a good movie.
The film follows Molly Wright (Thompson), a young girl infatuated with outer space who discovers an alien in her bedroom one night. After two Men In Black agents wipe the memories of her parents but not her, Molly trains for years to locate this mysterious organization and join them. When she does, she is assigned to London under the new moniker Agent M where she teams up with Agent H (Hemsworth) to keep the world safe and sort out the affairs of extraterrestrial life on the planet. Starting off with the two good elements of this movie, Thompson and Hemsworth have a clear and undeniable chemistry together that stems from their time in Thor: Ragnarok. These two are able to easily bounce jokes off one another and know the proper emotion to bring to each of their scenes. They spend almost all of their time on-screen together so they know how to play these scenes with the proper responses. Whether it’s Thompson’s more serious and passionate characteristics or Hemsworth’s lackadaisical and casual viewpoint, these two are clearly comfortable working together and consistently show that. Outside of those two, I really enjoyed the inclusion of Nanjiani as Pawny; the alien sidekick of Molly and Agent H. Nanjiani thrives as the film’s comic relief and plays a similar role that Frank the Pug did in the original Men In Black movies. While the chemistry is good and the humor works within the context, the plot and action are noticeably weaker than other films in the genre as well as the films in this franchise. This movie falls into the classic pitfall of just telling us how things unfold instead showing us how this world came to be. For example, Molly’s journey from an average woman working a call-center job to becoming an agent for one of the most secret organizations in the world just kind of happens. They explain Molly’s motivation, but for her to end up in this position she faces very little resistance and pretty much lucks her way into where she ends up. To add to this, the villain was predictable and generic, the story was a simple linear progression, and ultimately I left the movie feeling incredibly dissatisfied. Think about how developed the plot of the original Men In Black was and the amount of world-building and character building that was done in a mere 91 minute runtime. Men In Black International does far less than that in a 115 minute runtime, meaning the movie takes more time to say less. It’s a shame, because Men In Black and Men In Black 3 are both interesting and exciting installments in this franchise, but Men In Black International fails to capture that success and focuses much more on making a shallow cash grab.
Overall, I get worried about franchise summer blockbusters, because many of them ride the coattails of the movies that made them successful in the first place. That’s exactly what Men In Black International does as it takes no risks to try and do something unique. Even with an exciting new duo at the helm of the franchise, Men In Black International doesn’t feel as fresh as it should feel and shows us that Sony probably should’ve shelved this one until they had a better idea to work with.
Overall Score: 3/10