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Men in Black: International

**
2019

‘…a lethargic, uninspired and rather inessential adventure propped up by extended cameos…’

‘We are the men in black,’ says Chris Hemsworth’s Agent H during the climax of F Gary Gray’s widely unloved extention of the Men in Black franchise; given that he’s not referring to men, and they’re not dressed in black, it’s something of a stretch to agree with the sentiments contained in this Ghostbusters-style reboot.

Perhaps Girls in Black didn’t test well, or Woman in Black was already taken, but the main character here is clearly Agent M Molly Wright (Tessa Thompson), who is introduced as a child who becomes obsessed with the men in black after an alien encounter, and therefore seeks employment as one when she becomes an adult. She teams up with Agent H to protect the world from the scum of the universe in a lethargic, uninspired and rather inessential adventure propped up by extended cameos from Liam Neeson and Emma Thompson, who have little connection with the material.

If audiences found the notion of female Ghostbusters too hard to get their heads around, then an all-female Men In Black was surely too much of a jump, particularly when the PC step is taken so half-heartedly. And yet, the Men in Black films have, for this reviewer, been uniformly awful, and so this reboot/rehash/retread is, by dint of Hemsworth and Thompson’s chemistry, the most palatable of the series. And there’s still vestiges of Barry Sonnenfield’s clever designs here, notably a car that also functions as a weapons rack.

Casting two of the leads from Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnorok import some genuine bonhomie into this predictable story of agents saving the world from aliens, with the addition of  many-armed arms dealer Riza (Rebecca Ferguson) who hams it up nicely. Some nice gags, like the name of Riza’s Fortified Fortress of For Sure Death, do hit the spot, and Hemsworth and Thompson are far better than Smith or Jones ever were. If may be the faintest of faint praise, but this International venture is probably the best of the MiB franchise to date, which isn’t saying much at all.

 

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    • I feel like I made it sound better than it was, but it just wasn’t different enough to be worth rebooting.

  1. Really?!?
    I enjoyed this, but neither of these actors held a candle to Smith or Jones from the first 2 movies (I still try to pretend that 3 didn’t happen).
    I guess I found Thompson’s intro to the MIB to lack something. I still haven’t nailed down why I feel her intro to them is so weak, but I didn’t feel that way about Smith. I do think part of it was she played her part “oh so serious” to the hilt and I want my characters in MIB to be funny guys.

    • Agreed. I guess what this shows is that the charm of Ragnorok was not going to be a repeatable thing, something Love and Thunder confirmed. I’d be keen to see her in a few less kiddie orientated movies…

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