Main cast: Chris Hemsworth (Agent H), Tessa Thompson (Molly Wright/Agent M), Kumail Nanjiani (Pawny), Rafe Spall (Agent C), Kayvan Novak (Vungus), Rebecca Ferguson (Riza Stavros), Laurent and Larry Bourgeois (The Twins), Spencer Wilding (Luca Brasi), Liam Neeson (High T), and Emma Thompson (Agent O)
Director: F Gary Gray
About twenty years ago, Molly Wright found a cute alien in her bedroom and helped it escape the attention of the Men in Black. It was her first glimpse of those people, and somehow she manages to retain her memory even after her parents got subjected to that mind wipe thingy by the agents’ neuralyzer devices. Now if you think Molly’s apparent immunity is going to have any impact on the plot, ha, think again. At any rate, despite being apparently great at everything, she flunked the FBI entrant exam when she kept saying that she wanted to be part of an organization that has men in black suits. Never mind, she finally manages to track down the arrival of spacecraft masquerading as a comet, see the alien being taken in by the MIB, track down the men to their HQ, walk right in, and end up being arrested and brought before Agent O, the boss of the US branch of the MIB. Agent O is convinced that Molly has what it takes and makes her a probationary member of the organization. Molly is then sent to London as part of some student exchange program thing.
At London, we meet Agent H. He’s a local legend because he and the boss of the UK branch, High T (I know, I know), once stopped a Hive assault on Earth all by themselves. H is a James Bond-wannabe, sleeping with anything that moves and generally being a rule-breaker… except he is far less capable than he thinks. His latest job is to babysit Vungus, a royal member of an alien race that could easily conquer Earth if they choose to, on that alien’s latest R&R on Earth. Failure to do it well, and Earth becomes these aliens’ number one conquer and destroy destination, so H is right for the job as aliens and debauchery are so his thing. Molly volunteers to assist him, and oops, Vargus is killed under their watch, but not before he slips Molly a jewel-like thing that is apparently the object of everyone’s hunt. He also tells her that something about H has changed so the jewel-thing will keep her safe. If you think that this means something interesting will happen, like H being exposed as a double agent, think again. Men in Black: International really doesn’t want to be interesting even a little.
Yes, this is a reboot of the Men in Black franchise, so while the original premise is still retained – this is a covert organization dedicated to facilitating proper immigration and integration of aliens into Earth while keeping humans safe from the bad ones – we now have a fresh cast although Emma Thompson is back to provide a perfunctory link between this one and the last movie of the original trilogy. Unfortunately, just as it is with many recent reboots, this one feels hollow and pointless.
In the first half hour or so, this one isn’t too bad. Molly is quite a fun character when she’s on her own, and it’s rather adorable how she manages to locate and infiltrate the MIB. Unfortunately, once she goes to London and meets H, she is reduced to being one half of a bumbling duo, and the movie never recovers from its face-down tumble into the proverbial dung heap.
To be fair, Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson have a comfortable chemistry going on, although I feel that the chemistry is more of a colleague and friend type than a romantic one being pushed by the movie. Mr Hemsworth has good comedic timing and Ms Thompson makes a nice foil as the more straight-laced one of the duo.
The problem here is the script and the execution. This movie isn’t one as much as it is a long commercial for toys, cars, and what not. There is no build-up, nothing – just H and M bumbling and blasting their way from one point to another, with oh-so-wacky chases and fights at each stop, until the villain shows up out of nowhere for the laughable “climactic” moment. Seriously, the villain appears for the first time in that “climactic moment” – it is only mentioned a few times during the movie up to that point – and when it does show up, it’s basically the generic make-your-own-CGI-mess-computer-game-boss type that have been seen in other movies many times already. Seriously, the bad guy is worse than the average Marvel superhero movie villain, which says a lot.
Furthermore, the jokes are also more misses than hits, and many of the story elements feel like rehash from the original trilogy. This movie wastes way too much time having the main characters stagger around from one point to another without making sure that they are reacting to a coherent, well put-together plot first. In fact, these two stumble into a plot more than anything else, and hence, the whole thing feels like a huge waste of time. These two, especially H, aren’t even cool – H, especially, is an embarrassing hothead with little sense, and how this movie rewards him for being such a terrible MIB is a huge cringe factor in itself.
On the bright side, people who like to look at Chris Hemsworth will like looking at this movie a lot. He is either in snug white shirt or out of it, and he also flashes his smile a lot, making this movie the sexiest Chris Hemsworth softporn channel one can find outside of his Instagram. It’s too bad I can’t overlook his bizarrely overlong giraffe neck to enjoy the view much – otherwise, I’d probably feel happier having paid money to watch this movie in the cinema.