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Film Review: Men in Black International

10 July 19 words: Emma Walsh

A Men in Black film without Will Smith? We're not convinced...

Director: F. Gary Gray

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Emma Thompson

Running time: 114 mins

I suppose since the announcement of Men In Black International, the main question on everyone’s minds has been: “Is it possible to have a Men In Black film without Will Smith?” In short… no.

The franchise’s newest instalment follows Molly (Tessa Thompson), who saw the Men In Black in action as a girl and realised she’d found her dream job. Since then, she spent years trying to track the untrackable organisation until eventually, she finds them, and her sheer determination lands her a probationary period at the MIB London branch. Here, she meets the arrogant Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) and becomes his partner as the pair try to piece together the political assassination of alien royal, Vungus the Ugly, and the importance of the mysterious stone he gives them.

I have to admit, after watching Thor Ragnarok, I had high expectations for the Hemsworth/Thompson duo, having seen their comedic potential and their ability to bounce off one another under the scripts of other writers. Unfortunately, in Men In Black International, it just didn’t seem to work as well. But I don’t think that was the fault of either Thompson or Hemsworth, being a big believer in the idea that actors can only do so much with what they’re given. Nobody likes saying it, because an insane amount of work goes into the making of any film, but this problem of character dynamics, along with most of the film’s other issues, is down to the writing.

You have to question if the original trilogy really needed to be followed

This can also be seen in Hemsworth’s character, Agent H. We can all name an arrogant character who finds some sort of redemption by the end of the film. I think the problem here was that Agent H’s arrogance was overwritten, to the point that he was almost unlikeable, and that had other repercussions throughout the film, namely the fact that the ending scene, usually used as the tear-jerker, flopped.

In terms of plot, it was a bit hard to follow, and I’ll admit that I had to piece together certain aspects of it together in the car on the way home. Not only that, but the film could be seen to have ripped off features from other films. For example, there’s E.T., with a voice that’ll make you swear you heard him talking in the opening scene; and The Mummy’s idea of the villain absorbing the life of others to gain human form. I think the biggest eye-roll for me, though, was the plot twist at the end. It’s one that I think has been ridiculously overdone as of late, to the point that it even becomes predictable, and let’s be honest, that takes all the fun out the plot twist.

However, I have to admit that the creativity that we’ve come to expect from the Men In Black universe is still adhered to, with the conception of all kinds of aliens; the good, the bad, and the ugly, all making their way onto our screens. The twins, for example, were a great addition to the franchise in terms of villains, but they had so much more potential to be elaborated on and focused on more.

At the end of the day, you have to question if the original trilogy really needed to be followed. For me, with the brief nods back to it, through Frank and The Worms, I couldn’t help but think that the films should have stopped there. 

Did you know? Chris Hemsworth announced shortly after the release of this film that he would take a break from acting to be with his family

Men in Black International is in cinemas now

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