From the start, this is a movie that not a lot of people were asking for. Not that Men In Black 3 was a definitive ending to the franchise, but it was clear that Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones wouldn’t be doing anymore sequels, considering it was a full decade after the second one came out. To Sony’s credit, they did try to put together a formidable team to try to continue the lucrative franchise. They recruited F. Gary Gray, who just came off directing Fate of the Furious, a highly successful installment in the Fast and Furious franchise. Next, they teamed up Thor and Valkyrie themselves, Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson respectively, hoping to build off their chemistry from Thor: Ragnarok. Despite their best efforts, MIB: International never takes off the way the other MIB movies.
The movie starts off with a flashback to 2016 that introduces Liam Neeson’s and Chris Hemsworth’s characters (playing “High T” and “Agent H”) but then awkwardly flashes back again to 1999 to introduce Tessa Thompson’s character (Molly, later named “Agent M”) as a child and then finally flashed forward to the present to get the plot of the movie going. The good part is that the movie doesn’t waste a ton of time getting Molly recruited into the Men in Black. Usually, in a movie like this, its when the fun starts to happen but unfortunately the plot continues to languish into a generic action movie.
The underlying hope was that Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson would elevate the movie with their chemistry that we saw in Thor: Ragnarok but sadly we get barely a glimpse of it in here. Hemsworth and Thompson do their best with the material they are given but each scene together seems forced and unfunny. The slightest laughs only come from an alien named “Pawny” (voiced by Kumail Nanjiani) who accompanies them about halfway through the movie to assist them on their mission. Unlike the previous movies, we don’t get a ton of fun side characters. The best ones are the cameos from the previous movies that pop up in the MIB offices. The newer ones are extremely forced and lack any imagination.
I won’t spoil the movie for anyone who still wants to see it but if you are good at watching movies, you can predict most of the twists and turns of the plot. Not that any of the other movies in the franchise are highly inventive but it seems like the writers came up with the story in about an hour and called it a day. The good thing is that there isn’t anything wrong with the pacing. Thankfully, the movie moves along at a quick pace with a few fun chase sequences and some decent fight scenes but nothing that could be called spectacular.
After the performance at the box office this weekend, it’s unlikely that the franchise will continue in this direction. It’s a shame because the Men In Black franchise really does have so much potential and could go in so many fun directions. Unfortunately, this movie just wasn’t one of those ways. Hopefully, in a few more years, we’ll get to see a higher caliber of movie in this franchise again.