a critiQal film review Men in Black: International (2019)

Plot: The Men in Black have expanded to cover the globe but so have the villains of the universe. To keep everyone safe, decorated Agent H (Hemsworth) and determined rookie M (Thompson) join forces - an unlikely pairing that just might work. When aliens that can take the form of any human arrive on Earth, H and M embark on a globe-trotting adventure to save the agency - and ultimately the world - from their mischievous plans.

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  • ...despite some positive notes, this just isn't on the same level as any of the previous films in this series.

After watching all 3 of the previous films in the Men in Black (1997) series, I couldn’t say I was actually looking forward to seeing Men in Black: International. Without Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, this seemed to be just a lame attempt at garnering more box office receipts for the series. Still, with the stars attached (Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson), I figured I’d give it a shot.

So, would Men in Black: International be a pleasant surprise? Or were my instincts right in the first place, and this series should have ended with Men in Black 3 (2012)?

After doing so well as a God of Thunder, the role Chris Hemsworth plays in Men in Black: International seems right up his alley. Over-conceited super agent who’s seen better days, he seems to be reliving his role in Avengers: Endgame (2019) (right down to teaming with Valkyrie Tessa Thompson for another fun banter-fest). And the writers seem to play off this, even having him grab a wee little hammer in a fight along the way.

Liam Neeson is a bit standoffish for Men in Black: International, and doesn’t seem to be super comfortable with his role. Emma Thompson, on the other hand, seems right at home as a leader in the MIB, and (hopefully) future films in the series will see her returning.

The plot is a bit muddled in Men in Black: International, and really only seems to be a backdrop for Tessa and Chris to bicker. The introductory section, where Tess’ Molly discover the MIB, hearkens back easily to Will Smith’s original introduction in Men in Black (1997). Unfortunately, after that there’s some weird – somewhat boring – villains, a bunch of fighting just for the sake of it, and some red herrings that won’t throw anyone off the “surprise” ending.

While the special effects are pretty impressive, and the banter/bickering between Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson is fun, there is still something missing in Men in Black: International. It just doesn’t have the same fun vibe to it that carried the first three films. Maybe it’s changing up the characters, since Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are neither seen nor mentioned. Maybe it’s just the Hemsworth/Thompson pairing reminds viewers too much of Thor: Ragnarok (2017) (which was much better). Or, maybe this film is just trying to eke the last life out of this series.

Whatever the reason, Men in Black: International just isn’t on the same par as the other films in this series.

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