Men In Black: International Review

Photo: Sony Pictures

Photo: Sony Pictures

Men in Black: International is not a sequel but a spin-off of the original Men in Black series that has its own fans. Ever Since the First Instalment in the original trilogy came out in 1997, the series has become an important part of pop-culture history, with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones’ portrayals of Agent J and K earning acclaim.

But how does this new spin-off hold up against the iconic Men in Black movies that we have adored for more than 20 years? 

Straight off, this is a fresh take on the franchise. By introducing a strong female character like Tessa Thompson’s Agent M, the writers have changed the narrative of the film and it makes a lot more sense, given how Hollywood has changed in the past 2 years. A running gag in the film is that now its not just Men in Black, it is: “Men and Women in Black”. 

MIB: International follows Tessa Thompson’s Molly a.k.a Agent M chasing her lifelong dream of becoming a part of the “Men in Black”. Her dream was which is fuelled by an incident she witnessed as a child when she witnessed her parents getting “neuralyzed” by two men in black personnel. Once she joins MIB, she is assigned her first case in London. This is where she finds out that she would be working with Chris Hemsworth’s Agent H.

Compared to the very first Men in Black film, which was also an origin story of Will Smith’s character, the stories do not share much in common. While it’s likely that followers of the franchise won’t be disappointed in the origin story, it doesn’t mean the film is perfect.

Hemsworth’s portrayal of Agent H had a lot of similarities to Fat Thor in Avenger’s End Game, sans the fat.

In terms of story and action, the movie noticeably slows down around halfway and picks up its pace right before the point of climax. Its fortunate that the movie had a run time of 115 minutes because it may have dragged on had it been any longer. The performances are what you would expect in a commercial movie, with Chris Hemsworth’s Agent H stealing the show. However, Hemsworth’s portrayal of Agent H had a lot of similarities to Fat Thor in Avenger’s End Game, sans the fat. Tessa Thompson as Agent M did a great job and in a movie like this though there weren’t many layers to her character. Kumail Nanjiani as the fast-talking Pawny added the element of humour to the film. 

The dynamic between Hemsworth and Thompson in MIB: International differs to the one they shared in Thor: Ragnarok which is a testament to their acting prowess.

Given how Hemsworth has established himself as a commercial star, it would be great to see him take on roles which would showcase his range as an actor. His role as the brash F1 racer, James Hunt from the Ron Howard directed Rush, is still regarded as one of his best performances and seeing him in roles which exploit his range would further cement his status as an A-lister.

It has its flaws in the storyline and is by and large, a one-time watch.

A lifelong fan of the franchise may miss the chemistry that Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones shared and honestly, given a choice, I would also prefer to see more of that. This doesn’t take away from the performance of Hemsworth and Thompson in this reboot, but after only recently having seen them in Ragnarok, I would prefer their comedic dynamic to this one. Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson and Rebecca Ferguson play second fiddle to the main pairing and portray their roles with due diligence. 

All-in-All, MIB: International has the makings of a commercial blockbuster and it should do good in numbers at the box office. It’s not just meant for the fans of franchise, the regular movie-goer will likely enjoy this film. It has its flaws in the storyline and is by and large, a one-time watch. The expectations shouldn’t be too high and I can easily see it as becoming one of those movies that you would watch if it were playing on cable just to kill time.

But hasn’t that been the case with every MIB movie?