Action Adventure

Review: Despite a Galaxy of Possibilities, ‘Men in Black: International’ Plays It Safe

June 13, 2019Ben MK

Some movies become synonymous with their stars, and the Men in Black series is no exception. Now, with Men in Black: International, the sci-fi/comedy franchise makes its first foray into theatres without Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. Will moviegoers approve — or will they need to be neuralized after the credits?

In this third sequel, we follow rookie Agent M (Tessa Thompson) and her more seasoned partner, Agent H (Chris Hemsworth), as they set out to prevent a deadly weapon capable of ending all life on the planet from falling into hostile alien hands — or is that tentacles? Partnering with a diminutive alien with a big attitude (Kumail Nanjiani), the pair must also contend with a couple of lethal, extraterrestrial assassins who are fixated on obtaining the weapon themselves, while at the same time trying to suss out the mole in the MIB organization.

Directed by F. Gary Gray, Men in Black: International is, in many ways, a throwback to the summer blockbusters of two decades ago. At its best, it encourages audiences to check their brains at the door and strap themselves in for a fun, visual effects-fueled ride spanning multiple continents. However, when it's at its worst, the film simply feels dated, with tired tropes and awkwardly clunky pacing that will leave viewers wondering what the point of making a fourth installment was in the first place.

On the plus side, it's great seeing Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Endgame co-stars Hemsworth and Thompson back together again, and the on-screen chemistry that they share with one another is easily the highlight of the movie. That said, the level of enjoyment viewers will derive from their pairing doesn't quite live up to the God of Thunder's most recent solo outing. Thankfully, that's where Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Rebecca Ferguson and Rafe Spall come into play, as the supporting cast here is always game for chewing the scenery.

If you're a Men in Black fan, what it all adds up to is certainly watchable. Otherwise, you won't miss anything if you pass on Men in Black: International. For despite having literally a whole galaxy of possibilities to play around with, the result ends up being more or less a formulaic retread of the franchise's past glories.

Men in Black: International releases June 14th, 2019 from Sony Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of PG-13 for sci-fi action, some language and suggestive material. Its runtime is 1 hr. 54 min.

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