Men In Black International
Men In Black International: A Terrible Reboot That Drowns In Its Own Predictability
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
It feels like Summer has lasted a lifetime in Hollywood. Why? Because Hollywood appears to be churning out one terrible reboot after another and each so-called ‘Summer Blockbuster’ prolongs our period of suffering. Last week, X-Men: Dark Phoenix left you infuriated at its inconsideration and now, Men in Black International takes up a fun franchise and rains all over it with its stiff comedy, unfunny innuendos and mind-numbing predictability. When are Hollywood filmmakers ever going to learn that a flashy star cast isn’t enough to sell a film, in the end, it always boils down to a good story? Maybe these filmmakers ought to use the neuralisers from this film to erase their tendency to make such poor reboots, that is the only way to break this insufferable trend.
Molly aka M’s (Tessa Thompson) dream is to be a part of the MIB (Men In Black) organization and as luck would have it, Agent O (Emma Thompson) is quite impressed by her and gladly welcomes her onboard the team. On joining, Agent M tries to persuade Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) to take her on as his side-kick and as expected, he tells her that he prefers to work alone. She eventually convinces him and together they meet with the challenge of protecting the world’s most powerful weapon from an evil alien tribe named Hives. Whether or not they succeed in their mission forms the crux of the film.
The Men in Black franchise isn’t the greatest, but there is no denying the fact that all three films that starred Will Smith were fun, smartly packaged and reasonably entertaining. Men in Black International, even with action powerhouses like Liam Neeson and Chris Hemsworth lacks these three vital characteristics. For starters, it tries desperately to play it safe with its comedy, thereby taking away the fun and destroying the innate absurdness that this franchise usually carries with it.
The first three MIB films were entertaining because even if they did have a silly approach, the premise wasn’t entirely predictable. Will Smith’s spontaneity and director Barry Sonnenfeld’s ability to make even the off-beat premises, appealing to the average audience made the film thoroughly entertaining. But MIB International is extremely predictable and that’s why it cannot even be referred to as an average entertainer. Without putting forth even an ounce of imagination or originality, director F. Gary Gray lifts the premise, concept and plot points off of the previous installments. He uses the same sassy lines, same reluctant hero characters arc, the same kind of villains, identical plot twist and almost the same kind of side-kick who is full of repetitive wisecracks. If all the team wanted was more of the same aspects in the reboot, wouldn’t it have been easier to re-release the original instead? It is hard to believe that an actual Men In Black reboot has to struggle this hard to make its audiences laugh. The only character in the film who does score a few laughs is the little alien Spawnie.
One more reason why MIB International fails miserably is that it lacks the intelligence of the first three films. The 1997 original was incredibly smart about its narrative strategy. While it did put into play stylish visual effects and spectacular set pieces, it also lent the script depth by introducing a subtext wherein the MIB team helps protect the alien creatures who were banished from their homelands. It balanced glitz with the premise. The latest reboot pretends as though that subtext was non-existent and proceeds to ride on Chris Hemsworth’s charm and outstanding visual effects. Well, no film, however great the star or VFX might be, cannot take off without a solid script. Without understanding this key fact, MIB international lets down its team with a wafer-thin plot that sinks well before the interval itself.
As High T, Liam Neeson seems to be acting on autoplay, he does what is expected of him, his performance is right out of a template and it is good enough to sail by in this rehash of a film. As Agent H, Chris Hemsworth’s portrayal seems to be an extension of his performance in Thor. Though he does bring in his brand of charm, it isn’t heavy enough to save the film. As Agent M, Tessa Thompson steals the limelight with her quirky reactions and her enthusiasm. She is one of the reasons why you find it a little easier to sit through the whole film. But her chemistry with Chris Hemsworth appears feigned in comparison to their chemistry in Thor: Ragnarok.
MIB International has a magnificent background score and spectacular visual storytelling to go with it. The larger than life VFX steals the show too. But these technical aspects alone cannot make a film good.
On the whole, Men In Black International is a terribly dull and predictable reboot that Hollywood could have done without. If you liked the first three installments, stay far away from this one.