Star Rating:

Men In Black: International

Director: F. Gary Gray

Actors: Emma Thompson, Chris Hemsworth, Liam Neeson

Release Date: Friday 14th June 2019

Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Comedy

Running time: 115 minutes

In and of itself, 'Men in Black: International' is not a terrible film, it is just terribly uninspired...

After encountering an alien in her youth Molly (Tessa Thompson) dedicates her life to finding the mysterious men in black. As a rookie agent, she is teamed up with Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) to protect a royal alien. When things go sideways they must protect a mysterious device and save the world.

The 'Men in Black' franchise likes to pose interesting thought experiments on the nature of the universe. For instance how many times can we see the same thing over and over again until we welcome the heat death of the universe, which is probably a MacGuffin held in a jewel that needs to be hidden from an evil alien. In and of itself, 'Men in Black: International' is not a terrible film, it is just terribly uninspired. If it was the first film in a hopeful franchise it would wash over you and then be filed in the “I’ll never think of that again" part of the brain. But as it continues to trample dog dirt over the goodwill matt the first film laid out, many people's patience will be tested. The real insult is it appears no one cares about the film.

The original had a playful sense of fun when it hinted at the wider implications of its premise. Rather than push the boundaries in any way, it just falls back on the same old material “literal aliens at customs, WHAT! Lol.” There is not even anyone chewing the scenery and having a bit of fun with it. Which is a real shame considering we all know how electric Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson can be but they phone it in so hard you can almost hear the dial tone. They try and set up some partial will-they-won't-they that really doesn’t work. At one point they fall out because, well, that is what you get taught at the “Paint by Numbers Scriptwriting Academy”. But they don’t fall out for any real reason and it lasts of all one scene so it is completely pointless. They just don’t bounce off each other in the script or on screen.

As a summer blockbuster, you’d hope there would be at least some good action but that also disappoints. The set pieces are uninspired and there is never any real sense of threat. Considering the way that ‘John Wick’ and the last ‘Mission Impossible’ have started to change the landscape, this film feels like it’s come out six years too late. The international in the title is to alert the audience they are going to be whisked around the world to locations with convenient tax refunds for film crews. I just love seeing the same three square miles of London or the Eiffel Tower because these tourist locations are just so exotic and hard to reach.

The script tries to tie all the locations together but sets up so many needless subplots it ends up riddled with more holes than Bonnie and Clyde. If this wasn’t enough it also takes a stab at the “men in black, more like women in black” discourse and like a hapless knife throwing Othello in an unconvincing wig, fails to hit the mark. And this pretty much sums up the problem with the film, there is no real sincerity.

It is made by no one for anyone but just to keep the intellectual property rights in the bank. So, they shouldn’t be surprised when none of us take any interest.