From a childhood bedroom window, a young girl called Molly watches the Men in Black pursuing an escaped alien.Years later and all grown-up, Molly (Tessa Thompson) has decided she doesn’t just want to find the Men in Black. She wants to join them.
… wants to be a breath of fresh air but ultimately turns into a polite cough.
Director F. Gary Gray’s ‘Men in Black: International’ is a movie that wants to be a breath of fresh air but ultimately turns into a polite cough. Whilst many of its new touches and flourishes are welcomely progressive, the movie’s setup is one that desperately clings to the past. Old jokes are reheated, the world is again under threat and much of the dialogue that is on offer is stiffer than an special agent’s collar.
Lost amongst all its laser fire and tossed asides, Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) and Molly (Tessa Turner) quickly find themselves in a sequel that goes from funny to forgettable. Straining its usual conceit of a mismatched pairing to the point of blandness, there is little or no tension here. The sly, satirical edge that director Taika Waititi brought to ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ is painfully missing and director Gary Gray’s conveyor belt approach of thespians falling off the end of their sentences starts to rapidly ring hollow. Add to that a grouchy alien who grafts themselves onto the pair’s chaotic exploits and you’re back in the land that time rewound.
Whereas the original MIB movie stunned and amazed audiences with its irreverency, ‘Men in Black: International’ swallows any remaining gasps you might have had. Broadening the rift between spectacle and human interest, the production design looks pretty but looks alone won’t save this sequel from its bin-bound fate. Bolted onto 2019’s glut of similarly lame follow-ups, ‘Men in Black: International’ looks like another franchise destined for rebooting once fans’ memories have moved on.
Calcifying your attention with a crumbling sense of disbelief, F. Gary Gray’s MIB sequel is one that rapidly sinks from view with a rent-a-plot finale. With only Emma Thompson’s acid witticisms and Chris Hemworth’s Roger Moore impression to defend it, ‘Men in Black: International’ leaves the MIB universe a much more vulnerable place when Tessa Thompson’s arrival deserved so much more.