Movie Review – Men in Black: International (MIB: International)

TL;DR – A film that is funny in places, has some good effects and cast, but can’t escape its boilerplate plot    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Men in Black: International. Image Credit: Sony.

Review

Back in the day, oh goodness, 1997 was over two decades ago, I had no idea that a moth floating through the air was going to lead to something just magical. That first Men in Black film was like lighting in a bottle, hell I still have that theme song playing in my head from time to time. However, since then the follow-up films have never been able to capture, or even come close to that first film (though the cartoon series almost did). Flash forward to last year when I heard that they were taking another shot at the series, honestly, I felt a bit mostly meh. But then they announced that it was going to be headed by Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth. Well if there is a way to get me instantly interested in something it is to cast Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth and let’s see how they did.

So to set the scene, back in 2016 Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) and High T (Liam Neeson) arrive in Paris to stop a catastrophe, for the Hive, a destructive species, was about to use The Eiffel Tower to gate onto Earth and take it over. We then find ourselves with a young girl called Molly (Mandeiya Flory) who got to see the Men in Black in action and hid so she never had her memories wiped by the Neuralyzer. Now in 2018, all grown up Molly (Tessa Thompson) tries to find the MIB and after a lifetime hunt, she is given status as a probationary officer and sent to the London Branch where something does not seem right.      

Men in Black: International. Image Credit: Sony.
In MIB we see just how important casting is for films. Image Credit: Sony.

Without a doubt, some of the people that need some serious praise on this film are the casting directors Reg Poerscout-Edgerton and David Rubin. Every casting choice in this film is fantastic, even the things that didn’t quite work should have with this cast. While I know someone watched Thor: Ragnarok and went “they worked well together, let’s get them back” I’m not at all mad because they were completely right. Tessa and Chris have an instant bond in this film, the kind that comes from working with another actor and having full trust in them. So much of what does not work in this film can be glossed over by the fact that they are so much fun on screen.

What I didn’t expect was what really made their paring work, was the addition of Pawny played by Kumail Nanjiani. Every moment he was on the screen was an absolute delight, from his character design to the superb acting. Indeed, all of the character designs for the new aliens were fantastic and when you have Weta Workshop helping out in that respect it should be no surprise. Add to this all of the supporting cast was great, with mad respects to the Les Twins Laurent and Larry Nicolas Bourgeois for some of the best presence I have seen in a film debut. Though I do have to say, if you are casting Rebecca Ferguson in your film, let her do her thing rather than holding her back.

Men in Black: International. Image Credit: Sony.
I am 100% here for Pawny. Image Credit: Sony.

Where the film has real issues, is with its story, or in many cases the lack of one. They give the game away so early, indeed by the second time they say a very specific phrase after laying down the “This is Important Information Don’t Forget It” speech you will know 100% how this film will end and you are right. This creates a real drag on the film because it feels like we are all just going through the motions until everyone needs to be where they will be in the end. To add to this, while most of the production design is fine, there is even some clever editing during one of the fight sequences, one area where the film was let down was the musical score. Danny Elfman original score for the 1997 film was perfect for the film, it was zany and off-kilter and musically let us into this world that looks like ours but just a bit off. Here they use his score mostly as filler and more of a “look it is that score from the first film that you liked” than for an artistic rationale. What new music that is there, feels out of place and just jarring. The one area where it did work was the re-mix of the opening titles music right at the start, but only there.

In the end, do we recommend Men in Black: International? Well look, does it hold a candle to the original film, no, but it worked a lot better than any of the sequels so far. Add to this, Tessa Thompson, Chris Hemsworth, and Kumail Nanjiani are real fun together. So if you do go see it, there will be some enjoyable moments but maybe not enough for me to recommend not waiting till you can rent it for cheap in a year or so.          

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you watched Men in Black: International?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
 


Credits –
All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Men in Black: International
Directed by
– F. Gary Gray
Written by – Art Marcum and Matt Holloway
Based on – The Men in Black by Lowell Cunningham
Music by – Danny Elfman and Chris Bacon
Cinematography by – Stuart Dryburgh
Edited by – Christian Wagner
Production/Distribution Companies – Columbia Pictures, Amblin Entertainment, Parkes + Macdonald, Image Nation, Tencent Pictures & Sony Pictures
Starring
– Tessa Thompson, Chris Hemsworth, Liam Neeson, Rebecca Ferguson, Kumail Nanjiani, Rafe Spall, Laurent Bourgeois, Larry Nicolas Bourgeois, Emma Thompson, Kayvan Novak, Spencer Wilding, Mandeiya Flory & Tim Blaney.       
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG; Germany: 12; New Zealand: M; United Kingdom: 12A; United States: PG-13

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