To quote Emma Thompson’s character, Men in Black: International feels like a case of deja vu dismissed just as quickly. It features the traditional premise of suited agents in shades taking down evil extraterrestrials. However, it still acts as a neuralyzer because it’s sadly quite forgetful. It should provide the same entertainment value as the other Men in Black films but doesn’t have the same spark and not necessarily because of the absence of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.
Instead, this sequel/spinoff focuses on Molly (Tessa Thompson), a woman whose parents whose memories were erased with a neuralyzer by MIB agents when she was a child. After that occurrence, Molly spent two decades finding MIB Headquarters in order to join and prove that alien life is out there. When she does, she is sent to London and teams up with a loose cannon agent named Agent H (Chris Hemsworth). Together, they must go up against an evil that determines the fate of the universe.
Sadly, the evil at hand isn’t well-developed. It’s a cookie-cutter villain that wants to annihilate the universe just because it’s evil. Nothing more, nothing less. No development, nothing. Men in Black II may have been the most ill-received entry in the franchise, but even that film still had a legitimate villain with a personality. Not to mention, the lack of practical makeup effects on the aliens is a glaring issue. As opposed to the other entries where the makeup wizardry of Rick Baker made the aliens unique, here, all the aliens are CGI.
Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson still manage to be the film’s saving grace. It was clear in Thor: Ragnarok that they’re a terrific pairing and this film is further proof of their wonderful chemistry. Hemsworth provides plenty of laughs as the goofball Agent H while Thompson, as the straight man Agent M, bounces off him perfectly. In addition, Kumail Nanjiani provides amusing voice work as Pawny, an alien that accompanies Agents H and M on their mission.
As for the rest of the cast, their roles are rather wasted. Rebecca Ferguson has only one scene as Riza, a rogue alien and former lover of Agent H, while Emma Thompson has a borderline cameo. While Thompson steals every scene she has, one of the film’s biggest flaws is that she’s not in it enough. Thankfully, Late Night is out in case you want to see a film where she’s not painfully underutilized.
In conclusion, it’s unfortunate that Men in Black: International is rather forgetful. With a great central pairing taking part in a fun franchise, it had the potential to be terrific. However, with an underdeveloped villain and an overreliance on CGI, it loses the special touch the other installments had. That being said, hopefully, the on-screen pairing of Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson continues because they’re really the only reason to check this out.