Men In Black, International: I Wish I Had A Neuralyzer

I did not enjoy this movie. It felt rushed, sloppy, and missing a soul. It was hard for me to tell what type of movie it wanted to be and filled with moments that didn’t have to do with M.I.B at all. The 2019 film, directed by F. Gary Gray, is a run of the mill cop movie with random references to the franchise, a poor script, and acting by a cast that didn’t seem to want to be there. I was a major fan of the first Men In Black movie, so I did enjoy some aspects of the universe building. However, aside from the nostalgia, I do not think there was much value to the film.

Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson are great actors. I have honestly loved them in every movie they have appeared in prior. Which is why their performances in M.I.B.I were so disappointing. Tessa played Agent M, a hot shot/up and comer starting her career with the agency, much like Will Smith in the original film. Her character was meant to be searching for the truth but mostly acted like she was the senior agent. This robbed the audience of easily connecting with the main character. Chris played Agent H, and honestly… I don’t know what to say. This was the worst role I’ve ever seen him play. He just phoned in the jokes and generally acted like he didn’t want to be there. I heard that he was forced to learn his lines on the spot during filming due to script changes and it shows. The boring story didn’t help either.

As far as movie plots go, this was standard and unoriginal. I didn’t really have to do with aliens or the Men In Black universe. Say what you will about how bad the other M.I.B sequels are, but they at least felt like they were made for the franchise. M.I.B.I could have been a movie about a standard cop organization; then they just added an alien changes. Instead of a normal Mob boss, make them an alien. Instead of a getaway car, have it be a space ship. Kumail Nanjiani, playing the alien Pawny, was the only character that felt like he was made for the movie. The downside was I hated him and thought almost everything he did or said was annoying. Men In Black opened up a vastly expanding world of possibilities, and this sequel didn’t really try to make a story that expanded on it. Even if there were moments that tried.

It may sound like I’m just bashing on the film pretty hard. I will admit a part of that is from expectations. Men In Black is a great IP that brings a little hope to the nihilists and conspiracy theory nut jobs. This movie did moments that lead me to believe there were people working on it that loves that franchise. Making the film set in International countries gave them a chance to explore. Something like Gustave Eiffel being an alien and his tower a beckon for alien immigrants was a nice touch. There were also a plethora of references. Seeing Frank the Pug was awesome and I really wish there was more stuff like that. However there were other times I felt they rammed the references down your throat. In the original film there was a memorable moment with real celebrities being aliens on a screen. In this one, they point the cast to it and are talking about Donald Glover being an alien. There were a few other moments in the movie I actually did like, and honestly the acting and cop plot are forgivable. However the main theme isn’t.

Multiple times throughout the film they reference an idea. “The universe will put you in the right moment at the right time…” There are some films that shine under the principles of fate. ‘Crash’ blew people’s minds with a story that wove people together and shined a light on the idea of destiny. M.I.B.I used it as a lazy excuse. There were a few scenes that caused the main characters to be stuck or in danger, however a very convenient plot point came along to save the day. Each time they would make it a point to highlight fate as if the universe is sentient and wanted the agents to succeed, but the story was a simple cop drama and not something divine and ominous.

Sony has been trying to get a M.I.B reboot out the door for years. There was a rumor a while ago that the next ’21 Jump Street’ movie would have a M.I.B. crossover sequel. I think this movie still had some executives with that idea in mind. It tried to be a comedy, but I didn’t find it very funny. When they tried to be sentimental, the moments were undercut by jokes. Men In Black International does not survived The Snappening. For a franchise that will go down in history as one of the greats, this sequel did nothing to make the franchise better. The truth is out there, and it came out 1997 and only had one great movie.

 

Movie watched and review written by: Troy Smith

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