I have very little interest in the Men in Black franchise, to be perfectly honest with you all. The first one is such a product of the nineties that if it were a person it would have Spice Girls posters, and wear hammer pants, and its sequel isn’t much better. In other words, they haven’t aged well.
Following the so-so reception to the third instalment, it would have been easy to imagine that the series was dead, but in Hollywood, nothing with name recognition value stays dead forever, so it was time for a reboot.
Although my pessimism towards the MIB films should be blindingly obvious by these opening paragraphs, I don’t mind admitting that the appeal of seeing Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thomson share the screen again wasn’t appealing, so here we are.
Agent H (Hemsworth) is a highly-regarded agent within the Men in Black, having defeated a race called ‘The Hive’ a few years previous he enjoys his status as top agent. Then a new recruit comes into his life (Agent M, played by Tessa Thomson) and he’s suddenly whisked on an adventure that will make him face what he did to deserve such reverence.
Before seeing MIB: International, I was unmoved by the franchise, and after it, I proved myself to be correct by being unmoved.
Not to say that it was awful, it wasn’t, but it was sluggish and scatterbrained, all the time embracing new ideas without fully fleshing-out the old ones. What was an opportunity to re-invent the series into something relevant to 21st century cinema fell flat by falling back on the same formula that worked in the 90’s. It simply did not forge its own path, instead it wallows in its predecessors footsteps.
There are things I enjoyed about the film, Hemsworth and Thomson’s charisma pops off the screen delightfully, they make for such a firecracker duo, that it’s a shame they weren’t used in something more substantial. There was also some nice visual moments from the ‘villain’ of the film, a pair of twins who have a weirdly unique move,ent style that was nice to watch, oh and the little sidekick Pawny (Kumail Nanjiani) has a few funny lines, besides these things, the film doesn’t really have a whole lot to offer.
There aren’t a lot of great performances to write home about besides the two leads, to be honest, both Emma Thomson and Liam Neeson just seem to be going through the motions, and nobody else really jumps out at you from a character stand-point. There’s an agent in the film who is established as a kind of professional rival to Agent H, but his motivations are so cliched and run-of-the-mill that he just ends up blending in with the background, metaphorically speaking of course, although that might have livened his character up.
The biggest failing of the film is its predictability. If I manage to figure out your big, final twist in the first scene, then something is very wrong with your screenplay. Anyone who was paying any amount of attention could have seen the turn of events coming a mile away, it was a play straight from the big screenplay book of cliches, which is not how you want to be jump-starting your long-dormant franchise.
It also seems to suffer in the pacing department, the film spends so long establishing the new characters that we’re almost an hour in before the main plot thread is introduced, fair enough if you want to introduce these new characters to the world, but it could have been done a bit more expediently is my point.
In conclusion then, MIB: International just feels kind of half-hearted. An uninspired story, driven by drab direction and a predict script. Hemsworth and Thomson have great chemistry, but they can’t save this film from ultimately being uninspired, and a little dull.