Fans of the series may like this latest adventure, but the world of "Men in Black: International" just seems like it has so much more potential.
Here once again come the Men in Black (clap clap!), still defending the galaxy 22 years after the original film, and nearly 2 billion dollars in box office sales later. In "Men in Black: International," though, it feels more like a spin-off than a sequel. That's because Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are no where to be seen, and in their places come Tessa Thompson and Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth, as they travel overseas to stop the latest top-secret alien threat to the world.
In my review of "Men in Black 3" back in 2012, I wrote:
Overall, fans of the series may find this one enjoyable, but seeing this franchise on-screen one more time didn't revitalize it as I'm sure was the intention of the studio.
The same holds true with this newest chapter. Thompson plays Agent M, a new - ahem - Woman in Black, who is so enthusiastic about aliens that she actually tracked down the MIB HQ looking for a job. She is paired up with Agent H (Hemsworth), a slick, hot-shot agent who "usually works alone" (slow down on the originality!). Under the guidance of Agent High T (Liam Neeson), the supervising officer of the MIB's international branch, they need to acquire a powerful weapon that can stop an oncoming alien invasion known simply as "The Hive."
The movie also stars Rebecca Ferguson, Emma Thompson, and Kumail Nanjiani as the wise-cracking alien sidekick, “Pawny.” And if the press screening audience was any indication, Pawny will be everyone's favorite new extra-terrestrial.
If anything, "Men in Black: International" is sorely missing that "coolness factor" that Will Smith brought to the franchise previously, and the comedic-chemistry that was shared between him and the cranky old Tommy Lee Jones. Thompson and Hemsworth together don't quite crackle, even if individually they both are worthy actors. They inhabit this world without really bringing anything new to the table, which is a bit disappointing.
So is this a good movie? No. But it’s probably better than the last Men in Black, and it’s a franchise that really feels like it has a lot of untapped potential…Instead of just setting an adventure overseas, I’d love to see the Men in Black movies try to take a few more chances and open their world up a bit. For now though, "Men in Black: International" plays it too close to the suit, but is just harmless enough to be mildly enjoyable. Not quite a ringing endorsement, but passable.
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy.
Run Time: 1 hour 54 minutes.
Starring: Tessa Thompson, Chris Hemsworth, Kumail Nanjiani (voice), Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Rebecca Ferguson.
Directed by F. Gary Gray ("Straight Outta Compton," "Law Abiding Citizen," "The Italian Job," "A Man Apart," "The Negotiator," "Friday").
"Men in Black: International" opens everywhere on Friday, June 14th, 2019.
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