Rated PG-13 | 115 mins.
Directed by F. Gary Gray
Starring Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Kumail Nanjiana, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson
Men in Black: International is not a reboot or retelling of the original Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones franchise, but in fact, is a continuation that focuses on two other agents. Hemsworth plays Agent H, a cocky alien slayer out of MIB UK, while Thompson plays Agent M, the only human being to ever find her way into the Agency without having been recruited. A sci-fi, buddy comedy, action-adventure film starring Thor and Valkyrie of the MCU sounds like a recipe for success, however, this one left a bad taste in my mouth.
International had all the right components to be a fantastic movie: an all-star cast, a solid director (F. Gary Gray; Straight Outta Compton, The Fate of the Furious), the original composer (Danny Elfman), and it was executive produced by Steven Spielberg. Where everything crumbled was at the hands of the film's writers, Art Marcum and Matt Holloway. The duo hasn't had a reputable hit since Iron Man, which they can't even take full credit for since there were two other writers on that film. They're responsible for box office duds like Punisher: War Zone and Transfomers: The Last Knight, so it was a bit expected for International to be at that same low tier.
Overall, it was simply sloppy, mostly boring, and didn't make sense. Some scenes felt either completely rushed or were blatantly random. Many of the jokes felt awfully forced and hardly came off as organic. They only funny bits I enjoyed were from Nanjiani's charming Pawnie and perhaps a line or two from each main character. I get that the film should center around Agent H and Agent M, who's chemistry was actually decent, but I yearned for more screen time from Neeson's High T and Emma Thompson's Agent O. They've been around the block for a minute, so it felt almost disrespectful that they weren't utilized as much as one would hope. I was also just waiting for an Agent J and/or Agent K cameo, but that ultimately never happened.
The only pieces that were pleasing were ones for the eyes. The special effects, the fancy gadgets and weapons, and the well-designed aliens were enjoyable to look at and I have to give credit where credit is due. It's just too bad (or maybe a good thing?) that only the secondary gets to shine instead of the first string starters. There was so much wasted potential on International and there was immense room for improvement. Sometimes things just don't work out the way they should and this is one film that I wish was neuralysed from my memory. ★★
★★★★★ Classic | ★★★★ Excellent | ★★★ Good | ★★ Fair | ★ Poor