‘Men in Black: International’ Review

MIB: INTERNATIONAL 3 out of 10; Directed by F. Gary Gray; Written by Art Marcum and Matt Holloway; Starring Tessa Thompson, Chris Hemsworth, Liam Neeson and Emma Thompson; Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action, some language and suggestive material; Running time 115 minutes; In wide release June 14.

I have a confession. I love big, dumb movies. Give me lots of ‘splosions and a plot so over the top it’s absolutely stupid, and I’m almost guaranteed to have a good time. Take the Fast and the Furious films; they’re dumb as hell and I can almost feel my IQ dropping while I watch them, but I can’t wait for the next movie in the series and will enjoy every second of it in the theater. Which is why Men in Black: International is so frustrating. They have a very simple formula set up by the movies that came before, but they can’t even follow along with that which leads to a boring and trite film that really doesn’t interest anyone.

Molly Wright (Tessa Thompson) knows about the MIB. As a young girl, she witnessed them wipe her parents’ minds after an encounter with an alien, but they missed her, and she has spent her life trying to track down and infiltrate them. She finally gets her chance and convinces one of the heads of the organization to let her in as an agent. She is paired with Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) who used to be one of their top agents but has since spiraled into disgrace, and the two of them work to track down the being responsible for killing an alien diplomat. Things go awry though as they learn that there is more to the assassination than meets the eye, and the conspiracy behind it will shake the MIB to its very foundation.

At its core, the Men in Black series is simply buddy cop movies with aliens. You’ve got the straight man coupled with the wise-ass newbie, and wackiness ensues. And that’s all International honestly had to do to be enjoyable. A wide eyed recruit to the Men in Black who wants to figure out the complexities of the universe is the partner to a sarcastic guy who thinks that all of this alien stuff is old hat. That should be the perfect combination, but it just isn’t.

This movie drags. It feels a lot longer than its nearly two hour running time, and that’s mainly because nothing happens for at least the first 30 minutes. Seriously. Nothing happens. Sure Molly joins the MIB, but it’s not really all that interesting or entertaining. It’s an origin story we’ve seen multiple times over. It’s like watching Uncle Ben and the Waynes get shot for the tenth time, and we just don’t need it.

Not to mention that most of the fun is seeing the characters play off each other, and Hemsworth and Thompson just have no chemistry together, which is annoying because they clicked so well in Thor Ragnarok. It would be extremely difficult to capture the lightning in a bottle that was the first MIB, and it’s doubtful any other duo could work as well as Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, but even if it was half of that, at least the relationship would be fun. Alas, what we get is dry and boring and nothing even remotely worth caring about.

MIB: International should have been a ton of fun. This world is interesting and has a rich backstory the writers could have easily gotten something new out of, but instead it’s derivative and dull. With characters no one cares about and a plot that has been repurposed a million times before (not to mention a plot twist blatantly spoiled five minutes in), there really is no reason to see this film. Ever. It’s a complete waste of time, and watching paint dry for two hours would be a better use of your day. Just skip it and forget it even exists.

3 out of 10