Men in Black: International is the fourth film in the MIB franchise, entirely separating itself from the original series as well as its classic leads Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones; this film focuses on Agent M (Tessa Thompson) and Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) as they face a new threat on Earth. More akin to a soft reboot, this attempt as restoring this franchise to its former glory feels artificial.
If any existed, then Men in Black: International stands as a case-study example of what movies turn into when they are manufactured by the producers; Men in Black: International is a film that provides little to no originality in its story, being as cookie-cutter as you could possibly expect a lazy reboot could be. This is Men in Black (1997) without the interesting character chemistry and without the memorable aliens. In fact, this felt more like Fantastic Aliens and Where to Find Them. And much like the cheesy dialogue that could rarely land its punchlines, the “plot twist” could be seen within the first 25 minutes of this films runtime, there is quite literally, almost zero imagination brought in here.
Chris Hemsworth plays the suave and arrogant top agent, utilizing humor as his primary weapon. Hemsworth felt like he landed face first inside the Men in Black HQ directly from Asgard, as he shares much of the same charisma and recognisable comedic style as the God of Thunder. Putting the dynamic duo of Tessa Thompson and Hemsworth aside, I couldn’t help but feel like too much Ragnarok had bled through in general, so much so that I could imagine that if this film had been edited in just the right way, it could entirely pass for a poorly made Valkyrie and Thor mini spin-off. Tessa, despite her watery character, does a fair job in capturing the purpose of her character, but it does little salvage this muted narrative.
A Hollywood film that has a $110 million budget alongside a massive marketing campaign, should at least be able to entertain its audience with exciting action scenes and excellent VFX. Sadly, this film suffers from poorly rendered CGI throughout most of its sequences, breaking any immersion you may have. Stuart Dryburgh completely underutilised the camera as all the action sequences feel empty and lacking any energy, further indicating that there is no real creative direction in this film.
The visual concept of the film is never fully realised as it jumps around from location to location without establishing any aesthetic for this spin-off. While the work of Charles Wood doesn’t necessarily bring the world to life, he does succeed in capturing the essence of the Men in Black. The composition brings back the nostalgia of Men in Black as it utilises the old theme by Danny Elfman but the score never truly redefines itself or establishes itself in this spin-off.
Men in Black: International launches into the future while forgetting to embrace its past, this is a forgettable flick that will just as quickly fade from minds as its humor did throughout the film. Men in Black: International attempts to reclaim that original high that the first film offered — but instead leaving one feeling like you needed to be Neuralyzed.