Boys are back
The latest version of MIB tries to invoke the original in so many ways, and does justice to an extent. Thor: Ragnarok co-stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson take over for Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in an amusing spinoff of the blockbuster sci-fi action-comedy franchise.
The Men in Black universe is a world of rules: rules for agents and rules for aliens. There are also rules about how these stories are told, and this installment observes them.
Neeson and Hemsworth effectively replace Jones and Smith, and, this time around, Tessa Thompson is added to the mix to challenge the gender stereotype of the black-clad “men”.
The MIB franchise – based on Lowell Cunningham’s 1990 comic book series about secret government agents battling aliens – was looking pretty moribund at the time of the third film in 2012, when Josh Brolin gamely joined the familiar duo of Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith.
In terms of basic execution, Men in Black: International is a mess, and if the film were being graded purely in terms of technique, it barely passes muster.
International is better than Men in Black II and worse than Men in Black III. It’s Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth’s innate chemistry along with a Kumail Nanjiani twist that makes this action-adventure alien extravaganza a one-time watch.