‘Men In Black: International’ Movie Review – Not Even Being Neuralyzed Will Help You Forget This Film

Synopsis:

Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson star as Agent H and Agent M, who employ high-tech weaponry to battle mischievous aliens on Earth. However, the pair also discover a major threat within their own ranks.

When I think about movies that came out in the ’90s that I believe define that decade, one of the firsts to come to mind is Men In Black. It is both a ‘90s relic and a rewatchable classic. On the Rotten Tomatoes site, the Critics Consensus said it best: “Thanks to a smart script, spectacular set pieces, and charismatic performances from its leads, Men in Black is an entirely satisfying summer blockbuster hit” (SOURCE: Rotten Tomatoes). In fact, MIB was so satisfying to me, I never had a need or desire to watch any of the sequels that came after it because I knew they would never amount to the original movie – so why waste my time? To this day, I still have not seen any of the follow-ups. Heck, up until last night, I did not even remember that MIB 3 was an actual thing.

So, WHY did I decide to give MIB International a chance? To be honest, I don’t really know. Maybe it was the enticing casting list. You got: Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, two household names if you are a fan of Marvel movies, especially Thor: Ragnarok where they co-starred together; Liam Neeson (Taken, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace), Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks, Nanny McPhee, Harry Potter series), Rebecca Ferguson (Mission Impossible series, The Greatest Showman), and Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick, Silicon Valley). Sounds pretty promising, right? Maybe it was the optimist inside of me hoping that this fresh new look that would add more value to the MIB franchise. Maybe I was longing for a decent sequel to finally end my personal losing streak and prove to me that sequels/spin-offs are more than just cash grabs in this age of cinema.

Sadly, my findings were beyond disappointing.

You would think that after working together on Thor: Ragnarok, Hemsworth and Thompson would have great chemistry when they teamed up together to battle aliens and galactic monsters. Unfortunately, I just did not feel it from these two. Hemsworth/Agent H was supposed to be this arrogant agent who is the best in his game and Thompson/Agent M played as the book-smart newbie who will do whatever it takes to join the MIB ranks. The problem is, we have seen this formula before in countless other movies. Because of that, their performances felt shallow and boring. They did not deliver on the same scale as their predecessors Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, who provided charming performances in the original MIB that were full of personality.  Instead of attempting to do something different, the characters did not offer anything new, exciting, or thought-provoking that would deem them as memorable or rewatchable.

Also, this movie was not even funny. How can you have a MIB movie and it not be a decent sci-fi comedy? It is honestly an insult to the franchise. For the majority of the movie, I barely chuckled at the moments when it asked for the audience’s reaction. Thank goodness for Kumail Nanjiani’s character, Pawny, who was the comic relief (and ultimately, the saving grace) for this movie. In the beginning, though, it did take me some time to warm up to the character because it was painfully obvious that he was being used as the silly sidekick of the group and I did not buy most of his jokes at first. Later on, however, there was a scene where the characters are stranded in the desert and I have to say, Pawny and his interactions with Agent H and M at this moment were pretty hysterical. His charm lingered onto me for the rest of the film and in my opinion, he was the only redeeming quality of the movie.

My biggest complaint about MIB: International, however, is not the poor acting or its weak attempts at being funny – it is how unbearably predictable and underwhelming this movie was. I am not trying to intentionally spoil the plot for you but if you can make use of basic logic, you can pretty much figure out who the bad guy is within the first 5 minutes of the movie. It is THAT predictable. Like I mentioned earlier, these characters are textbook basic. You can see what they are about to do/say or how they are going to react from a mile away. Some of the supporting roles are also there strictly as a plot device just to keep the main characters moving forward and it infuriates me that those smaller roles do not bring anything else to the plate. And as for the action scenes we see here, I was not impressed. What was supposed to be the climax of the story did not feel like it had a lot of stakes to lose. The final “battle”, if you want to call it that, was way too short-lived and it did not cause me to be at the edge of my seat at all. It was a complete letdown and poorly executed, as is was the rest of the movie. I can’t decide if the subpar direction or the half-baked screenplay is to blame for but it should not have made me groan or cringe this badly.

With all that said, I just have one last question to ask: does anyone have a neuralyzer laying around? Because I am ready to have this garbage of a movie erased from my memories.

My score: ★★/5

Men In Black: International is coming to theaters on Friday, June 14.