Throw it into a black hole.
With each review that I write, I genuinely try to pick out something good about the movie I just saw. Sometimes the job is a near-impossible one, but if I really set my mind to it , I’m always capable of finding that one shining light of positivity in an otherwise terrible movie.
For Men in Black: International (2019), I’ve got nothing.
I suppose the chemistry between co-stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson isn’t the worst thing ever put to screen, but other than that, I’ve truly got nothing. Would you believe that a two hour science-fiction, action-comedy managed to be one of the most underwhelming movies of the year? The plot, characters and action in this supposed summer blockbuster are so forgettable that I feel like I’ve been neuralyzed.
Men in Black: International follows Molly Wright, a recently recruited agent for the New York City division of the titular agency. Still on probation, the hardworking Molly is sent to the MIB’s London branch where she meets the brash Agent H. Together the two agents work to defend the world against an alien invasion.
You guys, I honestly struggled to write that short summary because oh my God, was this movie SO forgettable! First things first: Was anybody really asking for a Men in Black spin-off? Was this something people have been desperately in need of since Men in Black 3 (2012)? Haven’t there been enough Star Wars (1977 – present) movies in that time to satisfy our alien needs? Or was this just a semi-clever way for Sony to keep up in the franchise game while they get their own Marvel Universe off the ground? By the way, you can check out my review for Venom (2018) here. No, if we’re being totally honest, this movie exists solely so that audiences can drool over Chris Hemsworth in a classic black suit. Well, sorry Hemsworth fans. Not only is this movie so unbearably bad that no amount of Hemsworth can save it, but you’ll also spend every one of his scenes wishing the actor would just go away.
Literally two minutes into the first scene and I found Hemswoth’s acting to be forced, bland, tired and ridiculous. Which, come to think of it, is actually how I felt about the movie as a whole. Did Hemsworth forget how to act like a person? As Agent H, Hemsworth is way over the top and plays every scene like he’s a little kid pretending to be an action hero in a cheesy 80s movie. Every time he opened his mouth I just wanted him to stop talking and get off the screen. A tad harsh? Maybe, but seriously guys, it was pretty intolerable. Much like his character in Ghostbusters (2016), – wow, Hemsworth really is reboot poison isn’t he? – Hemsworth’s scenes consist mostly of him spouting unfunny one-liners, other characters commenting on how pretty he is, and doing generic action things. Ughhh, he’s going to be cast in every franchise reboot from now until the end of time isn’t he?
As Molly Wright (AKA Agent M), Tessa Thompson is a more engaging lead than Hemsworth but only slightly so. There must have been some sort of outbreak on set because like her co-star, Thompson also suffers from the annoying and bizarre tendency of acting like the action hero in a cheesy 80s movie. Thompson does her best to anchor this tonally confused and at times, just plain awful movie, but it’s an uphill battle given the script she has to work with. Unlike the original Men in Black (1997) which actually utilized the talents of stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones to make compelling and well-rounded characters, Men in Black: International seems like it couldn’t care less about its leads. Agents J and K were real characters that you could relate to, cheer for, and enjoy going on a kooky sci-fi adventure with. Agents H and M on the other hand are given the most minimal of personality traits that can be summed up as follows:
Agent H: “I’m goofy and irresponsible!”
Agent M: “I’m serious and professional!”
Having these two normally charismatic stars play two characters (and I use that word lightly) so bereft of personality is a tragic waste of their talent. What’s worse is that the movie thinks this is top-notch comedy which I’m here to tell you, couldn’t be further from the truth. God, what I wouldn’t do for a shot of Will Smith’s effervescent joy and Tommy Lee Jones’ deadpan delivery.
This whole movie felt like a joke. Like the new Ghostbusters, Men in Black: International is a reboot that tries too hard at being a flat-out comedy. What made Ghostbusters (1984) and the original Men in Black so much fun was that they were real character-driven stories that used the amazing chemistry between their cast to inject the movie with humour. These reboots are just throwing joke after joke at you hoping that you’ll laugh at something. Honestly, I did laugh out loud once during this movie. It was at something the movie clearly didn’t intend as a joke and I was the only one laughing. Three words:
Evil. Alien. Break-dancing.
Seriously, what the fuck?
With every new scene you’ll find yourself asking, “why the fuck is this happening? What’s the plot of this movie again?” Poor pacing only adds to the movie’s list of major faults, as does the atrocious dialogue and lacklustre villains. Sure, the Men in Black franchise has never had incredible villains, but when your bad guys don’t have a clear plan, motivation or sense of stakes, you’ve royally messed up. At least Kumail Nanjiani’s Pawny continues the franchise’s trend of somewhat cute alien sidekicks. Oh! There’s the one good part of this movie! I knew I’d find it. The underwhelming antagonists coupled with the fact that nothing memorable or of any interest actually happens will have you yawning by the time the movie’s climax rolls around. Yet another generic action sequence, the whole time you’re left going, “okay, sure. Whatever gets us to the credits fastest.”
I have no idea what the hell type of movie the filmmakers thought they were making, but it certainly wasn’t the mix of humour and crime-solving that fans have come to expect from the franchise. Every few minutes, I forgot I was watching a Men in Black movie. Here’s a handy list of all the things that you’ll swear you’re watching while the movie fails to Men in Black:
- A high-budget version of Spy Kids (2001).
- A shitty Marvel movie.
- A Friedberg and Seltzer parody movie.
- A reject from 2008.
Lazy, unnecessary, and devoid of charm or humour, I strongly recommend not spending your money on this one. If you’re a hardcore fan of the franchise or the stars than maybe give it a watch when it comes to Netflix. I still can’t believe this movie is real.
Will you take a chance on Men in Black: International?
Let me know in the comments or on social media!