Men in Black has been in a weird place since the third movie was released. The first movie is a bonafide classic, and the second was pretty great as well. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones seemed to share perfect chemistry.
However, the third movie saw a new casting as Josh Brolin was signed to portray K — a necessity since time travel was involved. While it ended up as the highest grossing of the franchise worldwide, it just didn’t have the same spark as the first two.
Now, after seven years, Men in Black is back, and there is an entirely new cast. This is dealt with by transferring the action to Europe and having two new agents dealing with a possible alien invasion.
Director Taika Waititi joked that this was Thor 4 and that is because the new leads were none other than Thor: Ragnarok stars Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie).
— Taika Waititi (@TaikaWaititi) June 14, 2019
In Men in Black: International, Hemsworth is Agent H, who is considered the best agent on the other side of the pond — a man who saved the world, earmarked for leadership. However, he is also a mess and seems more wanting to slum around than do anything productive.
Thompson is Agent M, a woman who saw an alien as a child and watched MIB agents mindwipe her parents but not her. She spent her entire life searching for the Men in Black and finally found them, convincing the U.S. head, Agent O (Emma Thompson) to give her a chance.
Her first mission as a probationary agent is to team up with Agent H and save the world from an impending alien attack, while also trying to reveal and stop a mole from within the MIB agency itself.
The movie took a while to get its traction, the first half hour or so a lumber to get through. It just never seemed to flow right and was slogging on. However, after the first attack happened, and both Agent H and Agent M went on the run from MIB agents, things picked up and didn’t slow to the end.
Sadly, the reveal at the end was not as shocking or surprising as director F. Gary Gray (The Fate of the Furious) might have hoped, but at least it wasn’t boring anymore.
The acting was also good, with Liam Neeson on good form as Agent H’s mentor Agent High T, and both Hemsworth and Thompson adlibbed well off each other. However, while their work in Thor: Ragnarok was next level stuff, it almost seemed they were trying too hard here, and it seemed strange at times.
At the end of the day, Men in Black: International was a fun movie once it got its engine roaring, but a slow first half and a thin plot held it down from the masterworks of the original two Men in Black movies.