*Insert ‘Wish I had Neuralyzer so I could forget this movie’ joke*
Men in Black: International had all the cool gadgets and wacky bad mouthed aliens that we all loved from the first film, but this didn’t have the charm nor any of the fun. Sure Hemsworth and Thompson have that onscreen chemistry that, on paper, should have worked. However, on screen their chemistry is nothing on Smith’s and Jones in the first film. And this is down to lazy writing.
A Dull, Bland Script
The script by Matt Holloway and Art Marcum also made this perhaps one of the most unfunniest films I’ve ever seen. And considering this was starring Hemsworth and all of his Thor comedic chops I was expecting much more. However, he didn’t invite any laughs in this film and perhaps a couple of his lines elicited a quiet chuckle. The comedy was so lacking that, when looking around at everyone’s straight faces, it was almost an awkward experience sitting in what was meant to be a comedy whilst hearing no laughs. What slightly saved the humour was the re-introduction of Kumail Nanjiani’s Pawny, a CGI alien. However we don’t get many laughs out of him until the third act which was frustrating as there were so many missed opportunities for him to push the narrative and provoke character development, especially as he had been in M’s pocket for the entire first half of the film. They could have really used him for some great laughs while helping us to get to know M better as he was so close to her. Instead, what we got was a bum-numbingly-long first hour which was genuinely awkward with the lack of laughs.
Told, Not Shown.
Throughout the film, no sense of relationship between the characters is established visually, only through dialogue despite countless opportunities. Yes, we’re told that Neeson and Hemsworth’s characters are like father and son but we’re never shown that on screen. Tessa Thompson’s Agent M wants to work with H who insists he works alone. Suddenly though, he’s more than happy to have her on board and then one mission later they’re partners and best friends.
CGI Reminiscent Of The Originals
Now if you’ve seen the OG’s then you’ll know that the Men in Black franchise doesn’t take itself too seriously. The CGI isn’t the best out there (despite it being 2019) but it’s exactly what I wanted from a MIB film. It kept it’s cheap looking crazy gadgets and diverse aliens, but added a James Bond vibe with different settings like London, New York and Marrakesh which I really liked. This made some of the action/chase scenes more playful and interesting but SOME good action sequences was definitely not enough to save this film. The terrible chase sequence through Marrakesh for example. We literally spend nearly 5 minutes watching Agent M speed walking through Marrakesh whilst being ‘chased’ very slowly. Also, for that entire time Pawny was in her pocket and said NOTHING. Where were the witty quips? Where was the humour? Where was the communication?
So, Is It Unwatchable?
The story itself is interesting enough but also very basic. I wouldn’t at all say its unwatchable though, once you get past it’s simplistic story and script and watch agent M and H’s adventure through visually impressive sets, Men in black: International might just be the film for you. For me the script just wasn’t engaging enough and no amount of charming Marvel actors could salvage this. I was bored.