The Men in Black search for a mole amongst their ranks.
I’ve never really cared for the “Men in Black” franchise. I saw the first film in high school and never even bothered to watch the others in the original trilogy. Were it not for the fact that I had a long weekend, I doubt I would’ve even bothered checking this film out, but, curiosity got the best of me… Though I don’t really care for the franchise, I do have a great deal of respect for some of the A-list cast members in this movie; Liam Neeson (“Rob Roy”), Rebecca Furguson (“Mission: Impossible: Fallout”), and Emma Thompson (“In the Name of the Father”) all turn in solid performances rather frequently, and Tessa Thompson (“Annihiliation”) and Chris Hemsworth (“Bad Times at the El Royale”) had wonderful chemistry in “Thor: Ragnarok.” I can’t say I was eagerly awaiting my viewing, but I sat down to watch it nonetheless, and after about fifteen minutes, I was already shaking my head in annoyance.
Perhaps the worst part of this movie is the way that it starts. There are about three different beginnings to this movie, all of which make it feel as if it’s stuttering trying to get going. There’s a random, practically pointless mission with Hemsworth and Neeson’s characters; a scene with a flashback to show us a time when Tessa’s character was a child and meets an aliens, and at the same incident she sees the Men in Black flash-amnesia her parents; we flash foreword to when Tessa’s character has graduated college and is trying to get into the government agency that deals with aliens, but, alas, she can’t find it, so we follow her until she finally tracks them down; after all that, Tessa’s character asks if she can join the crew, and she’s hired in; then, she somehow convinces Hemsworth’s character- whom claims he normally works alone (except, apparently, for the time he did a mission with Neeson)- to take her along on a mission. It’s only after all of that crap that we’re finally introduced to the main mission of the story, and by that point the film is already forty-five minutes into its hour-and-fifty-five minute runtime.
Now, not all of that first forty-five minutes is completely pointless- I actually thought that most of the stuff with Tessa Thompson’s character was fine, though, I thought they should’ve started with her and completely forgotten about Hemsworth and Neeson’s mission at the beginning; it had absolutely no purpose whatsoever. Tessa Thompson is the only thing that really makes this film worth watching, because it’s clear that, while some of the other actors couldn’t have cared less, she was actually having a great time making this film. Her character’s story is also the most interesting of all the characters, and I thought that the way we introduced her character to the Men in Black world was one of the best parts of the film in terms of character development; after that, the characters just sort of blend together into drones with a-list faces but without any defining personality traits. They’re pretty much all boring. For whatever reason, the writers felt the need to add in Kumail Nanjiani (“The Big Sick”) as a little alien that Tessa Thompson takes a liking to and keeps in her pocket; the only purpose the alien serves is to spout stupid one liners ever so often.
The story is also rather silly. Most of the plot revolves around Thompson and Hemsworth figuring out whom might be a mole inside their organization, and then also taking hold of a superweapon, which has the power to create Grand Canyon-sized holes wherever it strikes. It should be obvious who the traitor is even if you’ve only seen the poster for this movie; the writing does nothing to try to ramp up suspense or deceive the viewer. In short, there’s not a lot of mystery in this sci-fi mystery.
I wish I could say that I at least enjoyed the world building that went into crafting this world, but I can’t. More than anything, the “Men in Black” world sort of bugs me. They’ve created this world which is apparently filled with dozens of species who have all figured out intergalactic travel, and the best thing they can think to do with that world is tell jokes that middle schoolers wouldn’t find to be funny. There’s very little effort or thought that went into most of the jokes in the film, and the worldbuilding is mostly used to support those jokes. There’s just not a lot that works for me in this world or this film as a whole.
I wish I could report that this film had some redeeming qualities, but other than a lead actress who stole a few scenes, this film has absolutely nothing going for it. Uninspired action scenes, lame jokes, poor story structure, horrid pacing, and rather uninteresting world building don’t make for a very fun viewing experience. “Men in Black: International” is a hard pass.
Review Written By: