The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization.
The Men in Black franchise returns with its fourth film MiB: International, in what is a distant sequel to the trilogy that began in 1997 and wrapped up much later in 2012. F. Gary Gray (Italian Job, Be Cool, The Fate of the Furious) continues the franchise with an all new cast and adventure that looks to restart the sci/fi comedy franchise with a new generation of agents.
While it’s still a sequel, in its own way this film is very much a reboot, or even a remake of the original. There is very little new on offer in terms of the plot for this film, it follows the outline of the 1997 film with a brand new young agent finding her way into the MiB organisation. She is then partnered up with an existing veteran with his fair share of flaws that need to be resolved before this adventure can conclude.
This film takes a more streamlined approach than the Will Smith original however by jettisoning all of the MiB induction/recruitment quirks used in that film, with young agent Molly quickly making it into the field but this time around we’re heading off to the office in England rather than sticking to the United States. With the two agents paired up together early on there’s plenty of time for the film to undertake it’s globe-trotting adventure, which for the most part is simple light hearted fun that probably won’t stay with you for very long.
There’s a variety of locales which keep things interesting, and amusingly it’s near final act delivers a bond villain-esque secret lair sequence with a few far too obvious story twists thrown in for good measure. We are treated again to a whole bunch of strange and weird looking aliens throughout, without quite being able to replicate something as adorable and heartfelt as a talking Pug but it’s not for lack of trying.
Much of the success for of this film depends on the chemistry between Hemsworth and Thompson, and there’s no doubt they have a shared charisma on screen that works well. They are both in familiar character types here and have clearly being cast for that very reason, with Hemsworth the lofty comedy act and Thompson a more serious undertone. While the pair are certainly charming the material that they have to work with never really makes the most of their talents.
The comedy is serviceable to the film most of the time, but it fails to hit the mark in a big way that will leave audiences with some memorable scenes. By the time the credits roll it all feels a bit flat, and while there’s nothing particularly bad about it, there just aren’t any highlights or effective moments either. Aside from Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson we get Liam Neeson, Rebecca Ferguson, Emma Thompson, and the voice of Kumail Nanjiani all in support roles. The cast all work well together and are sound in their respective roles, but each share the common problem where the writing just doesn’t make the most of the talent on offer.
While it follows the template of Men in Black, MiB: International isn’t able to recapture the fun of the original despite its very talented cast. It provides some light entertainment without any real highlights by the end, and its plot twists may as well be signposted from the opening scene.
I’m giving it 6 out of 10, it’s showing on screens around Australia from 13th June 2019.