HomeMoviesMen in Black International Doesn't Justify its Existence

Men in Black International Doesn’t Justify its Existence

Photo Credit Giles Keyte

Was this completely necessary?

Men in Black is one of those franchises that everyone looks at fondly, constantly forgetting that there was really only ONE great film in it: the first. The second film leaves A LOT to be desired and the third, aside from some clever lines, is highly forgettable. Some would argue a spin-off of this mediocre franchise was unnecessary and those people would be correct.

Men in Black International takes nearly the same premise as the previous films, but includes new agents, one of whom (Tessa Thompson’s Molly aka Agent M) actually seeks them out because her parents had their memories erased when she was a child. This plot device impressed the MIB so much, she is given an agent role and shipped off to England to be trained by Agent H (Chris Hemsworth). There, they encounter beings able to change the matter in their bodies to look like anyone—including MIB agents (I think, because the plot doesn’t even know). These two must team up, accept each other and stop the supposed alien invasion to save the world. Sound familiar? Yeah, it’s basically Men in Black with the roles reversed, as the new recruit is the straight arrow and the veteran is the goofy comic relief.

There isn’t much to unpack here. As I’ve already said, it’s a near retread of a fantastic movie IN THE SAME FRANCHISE! Why remake Men in Black but call it a spin-off? This film was very frustrating from beginning to end. The leads, both of whom I have praised in the past, are incredibly…boring. Both Hemsworth and Thompson try their best, but the material they are given is as lame as it comes. Thompson plays the same Tommy Lee Jones role, but as the rookie, wanting to do everything by the book. This contrasts with H, who is the Maverick of MIB UK. See what I mean? Remake, but we’re putting a spin on it. That’ll get butts in seats.

The worst fault of the film is how unfunny it is. The material just isn’t there. There are a few chuckle moments (and by few I mean 3-4) but every other joke comes off very rote and uninteresting. Hemsworth, who we all know can be incredibly funny, seems to be sticking directly to the script, which is the biggest downfall of his character. Sure, he’s kind of a macho buffoon who can get the job done, but we’ve seen this before in Thor, where he was allowed to improvise and be himself. Here, he’s a man collecting a paycheck. And Kumail Nanjiani’s alien, Pawny, who I was very excited to see, was just a sort of sex-craved teenager. Sigh.

I’m starting this new thing where, even if I detest a film, I will find positives. MIB international boasts some very good CGI, which is something a lot of films have failed at recently. While a film like Godzilla: King of the Monsters has to hide their effects in the dark, Men in Black International mixes daytime and nighttime effects that do not look like effects. I can believe Agents H & M were flying over a gang of agents in broad daylight. The desert gag (seen in the trailer) looks awesome and big. And Pawny does look like he can really be in any scene without it looking creepy. Oh, and Frank the Pug makes an appearance that’s sure to delight many fans of the original film.

Men in Black International is just not very good. It’s a shame. While no one was going into this film expecting the best film of the summer, I guarantee people were excited to revisit this universe and see two great actors have some fun. Unfortunately, all the fun is to be had with the effects, leaving a jumbled and poor script with little to no jokes. If you’re a completest like I am, you’ll see it, but keep in mind, you’ll probably want to never watch it again.

Men in Black International is now playing in theaters nationwide.


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