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Review: Men in Black International

by Tony Ruggio

Jettisoning all subtext of the original and heart of the third and formerly final movie, Men in Black International is definitely a step-down from the highs of this intermittent, long-running franchise. Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson don’t enjoy nearly the same chemistry that sparked in Thor Ragnarok, their personalities clashing in a way that can best be described as awkward, and not the good kind with bumbling and sexual tension in tow. It’s all so rushed and Thompson’s arc leaves something to be desired.

And yet, I couldn’t help smiling through half of it...

It’s almost a throwback, a harmless, kind-hearted romp that eschews snark for easy-going camaraderie. A surprising number of twists (some predictable, some not) keep us on our toes and the supporting cast is quite lively. There’s Kumail Nanjiani as a cute little pocket alien named Pawnee, and Rebecca Ferguson as a three-armed intergalactic arms dealer who shares a steamy past with Agent H (Hemsworth). Rafe Spall imbues Agent C, a bespectacled obstacle for our heroes at the agency, with a bit more than a middle manager’s nosy irritation. Liam Neeson and Emma Thompson are there to cash checks and nothing more, but you might have guessed that from the trailers anyway.

Director F. Gary Gray handles the effects and scifi fisticuffs better than he did on Fast & Furious, doubling down on the franchise’s kooky aesthetic and giving us everything from talking beards to an alien nightclub where people like E.T. and T.J. can drink, ride, and die together. Such creative fun does not extend to the film’s primary villains, a twin set of otherworldly beings who come equipped with super powers because, apparently, we can’t have a big-budget action film without super powers. These two can alter matter at will, throwing the Men in Black for a loop. They’re used to fighting giant bugs and assorted creatures, not gods who can bend the rules of the known universe.

Somehow International manages to be somewhat entertaining in spite of its myriad problems. Dull villains, derivative plotting, and some miscasting threaten to sink the spaceship, but Hemsworth is charming as hell and so are the weirdo aliens. With a better script that aims higher than forgettable hijinks, the new direction of this franchise could be something in the right hands should it keep going. Judging by the box office results, though, that future seems unlikely. C+

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Reader Comments (10)

I will see any film starring the handsome Mr Hemsworth

June 16, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterjaragon

Saw it this weekend. My recommendation: wait for basic cable to show it. Not very entertaining.

June 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPedro

Thank you for sharing such a nice information about this movie. leos mirror is also a production house which deals in a small Tv ads .

June 17, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterleosmirror

Chris Hemsworth is officially the male version of REDACTED with his incredible capacity to attract bad scripts.

June 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMelchiades

And all Rebecca Ferguson has really is a glorified cameo in the movie. Very underdeveloped villain.

June 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPedro

This film is scum of the earth. Tommy Lee Jones and will Smith should come back for round 5

June 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

The original MiB was on TV yesterday and forgot how gross I was! But it made me nostalgic for summers in the '90s. I HAD THE SOUNDTRACK ON CASSETTE.

June 17, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterjakey

I actually didn't hate it either, and am a little surprised it's gotten such a nasty reaction from so many. It's not great but honestly I don't think the original film is great either, besides a fun performance from Vincent D'Onofrio. I don't even recall MIB being considered great at the time it came out, just a financially successful and fun enough summer movie, but all of a sudden everybody's remembering it as some classic. This one was servicely disposable, a good way to sit in an air conditioned theater, just like the first one.

June 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJason

Was anyone clamoring for a reboot of this? MIB was one of those films that made a lot of money but wasn't exactly beloved. I'm not surprised it didn't register at the box office.

June 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJJM

A vast improvement, because you can enjoy all the fun parts of the MiB series without having to endure the smarmy Will Smith.

Tessa Thompson plays an interesting character I would like to see more of, and I like the easy camaraderie between her and Hemsworth.

But it’s as though they thought once they hired Thompson, they thought they’d done enough. Except for the cameos of Emma Thompson and Rebecca Ferguson, the film is essentially devoid of women.

This is a fun summer movie. I even got popcorn, which I don’t usually do, in recognition of the film genre.

June 18, 2019 | Unregistered Commenteradri

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