Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Movie Review: "Men in Black: International" (2019)

Director: F. Gary Gray
Year: 2019
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 54 minutes

A woman named Molly, who has been searching for the truth about extraterrestrial life, uncovers the secret about the Men In Black and is allowed to join their organization. She, the newly-dubbed Agent M, is then sent to London where she teams up with the renowned Agent H to combat earth's latest alien threat.

Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth fight bad guys with huge space guns on an empty New York City street in a movie still for Men in Black 4
"I'm gonna trust my gut." (Image Source)
♪ Here come the Men in Black...two totally different people! ♪ "Men In Black: International" is directed by F. Gary Gray, who is known for directing films like "Friday," "The Italian Job" remake, and the brilliant "Straight Outta Compton." It is written by Matt Holloway and Art Marcham, who worked together to pen films like "Iron Man" and "Punisher: War Zone." As a little girl, Molly (Tessa Thompson) had an encounter with an alien and saw two Men in Black agents neuralize her parents. She has spent every moment of her life learning all she can about extraterrestrials and finding everything she needs to become part of the Men in Black organization. She tracks down MIB headquarters and convinces Agent O (Emma Thompson) to let her join the team. O agrees on a probationary term, dubbing Molly 'Agent M.' O sends M to London where she is to team up with Agent H (Chris Hemsworth), who once helped save the planet with Agent High T (Liam Neeson). Together, Agent M and Agent H must investigate and destroy the latest alien scum threatening to obliterate the earth.
Movie still of a new Men in Black character named Pawny, voiced by Kumail Nanjiani, who pledges his loyalty eternal to Tessa Thompson
"Are you saying that you need me to save the world?" (Image Source)
It has been seven years since we had a "Men in Black" movie, and it has been 22 years (!!!!!) since the original "Men in Black" was released. Good lord, we're old! The chemistry between franchise stars Tommy Lee Jones and Willard Carroll Smith Jr. made the first film a timeless sci-fi comedy classic that we still affectionately watch and love to this day. If you go into "Men in Black: International" expecting it to capture the same magic Jones and Smith had in the original, you're probably going to walk away disappointed. But, if you're like us and you realize that not even Jones and Smith could achieve that once-in-a-lifetime spark again, you may be surprised because "MIB: International" is much better than the abysmally unsatisfactory series low "Men in Black 2." That comparison may not be the best one, but hey, it's all we've got.

Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth have electric chemistry together, and both of them are endlessly charming actors. Sure, they had a better rapport with one another in "Thor: Ragnarok," but they also had a much stronger script to work with. Man, "Men in Black: International" could have really used an injection of Taika Waititi's signature wit. The screenplay is lacking. It's pretty predictable and is a tad contrived, just like the last two entries in this franchise. Still, Hemsworth and Thompson play off one another well (though admittedly in a much more subdued fashion than their previous go-around), and they make the most of what they've got. However, it's Kumail Nanjiani and his character Pawny that got the most laughs from us, and we think he completely steals the show. He injects the film with some much needed alien fun (as opposed to all of the other serious, stuffy intergalactic characters that pop up here and there). The humor may also be a bit too meta for some viewers, almost as if the characters are familiar with the other MIB movies and the impact it has had on our culture, but we liked it and laughed pretty consistently throughout its runtime.
Liam Neeson's character High T welcomes Tessa Thompson's Agent M into the fold in Amblin Entertainment's movie Men in Black: International
"Sometimes, the universe gets it wrong." (Image Source)
Despite its flaws, we found "Men in Black: International" to be a fun sci-fi action popcorn flick that serves to entertain the audience, even if it is just for a little while. Did we need a fourth "Men in Black" movie? No, but we had a rather enjoyable experience watching this installment in the franchise, but we also fully admit there's room for improvement.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 6.5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~5.6/10
RT Rating: ~23%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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