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Men In Black: International Movie Review

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Men In Black: International pulls us back into the world of the secret government agency that deals with extraterrestrial diplomacy first introduced with the original Men in Black film back in 1997. Unlike the previous three films in the franchise, MIB International does not feature our beloved characters, Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones). Instead this is a reinvention of the film franchise following the London branch of MIB and we are introduced to a slew of new characters most notably Agent M (Tessa Thompson) and Agent H (Chris Hemsworth). I was very confused when this film was announced with how bad both MIB 2 and MIB 3 were. The only thought that kept running through my head was, “well if they’re making another one it might be because someone submitted a good script and it could be a cool reinvention of the MIB universe”, and boy was I wrong. This movie is a money grab, plain and simple. I’m not sure what the producers at Sony Pictures saw in the script that ended up being green lit but this may be one of the worst sequels I’ve ever seen that wasn’t a direct to video release. I don’t think this movie is completely un-watchable because there are aspects that I enjoyed but this film doesn’t do anything new or different that sets it apart from the other bad sequels before it. 

The one thing this film has going for it are the likable personalities of Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson and Kumail Nanjiani. The scenes where it’s just the three of them conversing and playing off each other are quite enjoyable and I had a good time watching these moments take place. The problem is that these scenes only make up about 4% of the movie. The biggest problem I have with this movie is how character development plays no factor at all in the decisions being made with the plot. As an example, one of the first scenes where we meet Chris Hemsworth’s character there is a fight that breaks out at a gambling table and the conclusion to this scene ends with Agent H begging for his life from a “female alien” which then cuts to him waking up in bed, shirtless, next to said character. This scene makes no sense and I don’t think it would change anything about the movie if they just removed it altogether. This is the point where the film begins its decent downhill. This is where I knew I was in for a rough ride.

The story centers around the discovery of a dangerous object that M and H have to keep out of the hands of the bad guys, (anyone surprised by this?) and thats about as complex as it gets. The best character in the whole movie is in less than one quarter of it and is a minor comic relief character voiced by Kumail Nanjiani. The worst character(s) by far are the villains in this movie. They’re just straight up boring. It’s funny that Hollywood still struggles to write villains that are more than just one dimensional all-evil. The first MIB had a story structure where it showed us the journey of the villain, and you learned things along the way as they progress through the plot in conjunction with the heroes. In MIB International, the villains hardly speak and have about 20 min of total screen time. You’re left to wonder why they’re even in the movie in the first place. 

For some reason, media has been obsessed with the idea of “subverting expectations” the last couple years. A lot of the content I’ve been watching lately has been utilizing this concept to the point where things have stopped making sense altogether. The writers of MIB International unfortunately decided to implement this device in the climax of the movie and this was the cherry on top of an already shit sundae. I don’t think the failures of this film can be reflected completely upon the director F. Gary Gray because I truly believe he made the best of what he was given. The faults of this movie are 100% derived from bad, lazy writing. 

There are still a lot of fun moments in this film with some cool looking props, character design and environments, but the context behind the rest of the movie makes all of these aspects fall pretty flat. I can’t say whether or not this is my least favorite film in the franchise, but it’s definitely in the discussion. 

Men In Black: International
DIRECTOR: F. Gary Gray
STUDIO: Sony Pictures
GENRE: Action, Comedy, SciFi
MPAA: PG-13
RELEASE DATE: June 14 2019
AUTHOR: Curt Cook
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