F. Gary Gray (director)
1h 54mins (length)
13 June 2019 (released)
13 June 2019
Men in Black first burst onto our screens in 1997 with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, who returned for sequels in 2002 and 2012.
After a seven-year gap, the franchise is back with a film that's both a sequel and a spin-off, as it exists in the same shared universe.
Our new leads are Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth as Agents M and H. As a young girl, M witnessed an alien encounter, but her memory wasn't successfully wiped by the neuralyzer, so she grew up obsessed with tracking them down.
One day, she investigates some alien activity in New York and finds MIB agents, who she follows to their headquarters so she can pitch herself as an agent. Agent O (Emma Thompson), the head of MIB's U.S. branch, reluctantly agrees to give her a job for a probationary period, but she posts her to the London branch, where she must team up with the heavy drinking, womanising Agent H (Hemsworth) and discover who the mole is inside the organisation.
The Men in Black films are supposed to be light, funny family-friendly entertainment but International falls flat at every turn and barely manages to conjure up any laughs. The storyline failed to excite or offer any thrills and it rattled through the action at such a pace that it was hard to follow or care about what's going on.
Thompson and Hemsworth have worked together before, on Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Endgame, so they have pre-existing chemistry that they could hit the ground running with. However, the script doesn't capitalise on their bond and squanders opportunities to really show it off. In fact, their talents are both wasted by the script which feels by-the-numbers, average and lifeless.
Thompson comes off better as the patient and poised rookie agent. She's the star of every scene and deserves to have another crack at the character. It's just a shame she hasn't been given a lead role in a more respected franchise.
Liam Neeson has a bigger role than expected as MIB's London boss High T, given the controversy that surrounded him earlier this year. Thompson was fun and had an enjoyable, sassy attitude, while Rafe Spall was the bland Agent C, a candidate for the potential mole.
On the alien side of things, we also have Rebecca Ferguson as the alien Riza, H's ex-girlfriend, who has some cool action moments but doesn't make a lasting impression, and Kumail Nunjiani as the voice of Pawny, a little alien who befriends the duo. He is designed to be their new sidekick, like Frank the Pug, and he does have some funny lines, but a lot of them fell flat.
Given there has been a very long gap, you would assume that the team had waited to ensure the comeback presents audiences with a worthy and exciting storyline but that's not the case. Men in Black: International is just as much of a letdown as the later movies in the original trilogy and does nothing to justify its existence.