The latest Men In Black film isn’t all bad, but like every other sci-fi blockbuster released this summer, this lacklustre sequel will sadly suffer from the unavoidable comparisons with anything released by Marvel over the past few years. After all, we have now entered a new post-Avengers era in which what was largely considered to be good enough even a couple years ago, just won’t cut it in 2019.
Directed by F. Gary Gray and written by Matt Holloway and Art Marcum, Men In Black: International sees Liam Neeson and Chris Hemsworth joined by Hemsworth’s Thor: Ragnarok co-star Tessa Thompson (Creed, Sorry To Bother You) in a sequel which also stars Rebecca Ferguson (The Greatest Showman), Rafe Spall (Shaun Of The Dead) and the voice of Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley, The Big Sick).
Tessa Thompson is M (Molly), a feisty new recruit who managed to blag her way into the MIB After breaking into their top secret headquaters. After being appropriately reprimanded by Agent O (Emma Thompson), M is given a second chance at being recruited and sent to the London branch to help with a new mission. In London, M is met by new branch boss High T (Liam Neeson) who pairs her off with the handsome Agent H (Chris Hemsworth).
In between constantly bickering with antagonistic rival agent (Spall), and squandering whatever reputation he still had, H soon realises that his new partner might have what it takes to help him out of a tight spot. Faced with an imminent alien attack, the duo must do all they can to tackle their biggest threat: a mole in The Men in Black.
Former music video director Gray offers a sufficiently entertaining, if deeply flawed, film which sadly fails to measure up to its far superior predecessors. The CGI action is, unsurprisingly, as big and and as impressive as it’s ever been, but there is a definite lack of direction in the narrative which sadly lets the side down.
Elevated by its likeable cast and the undeniable chemistry between Thompson and Hemsworth, MIB: International does the minimum of what is expected from it narratively, but there is also no denying that visually Gray gets it mostly right. There are also moments of great comedy courtesy of Nanjiani as the voice of cute alien creature Pawny.
Far from being earth-shatteringly good, but in no way as bad as first expected. Sufficiently entertaining, but a little rough around the edges.