Review: Men In Black International
MiB International wasn't needed, it's lost all the magic of the original 1997 film and gives us nothing new.
The 1997 film rightly received worldwide praise, it was well thought out, had incredible effects (for the era) and the acting prowess of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones bought the whole thing together. It was hard to beat this formula and made the original film 3rd highest grossing in that year.
As you would expect with any popular movie franchise, MiB got sequels with MiB II (2002), MiB III (2012) and a cartoon series inbetween. The sad fact is that none of the sequels got near the original magic created in 1997.
MiB international? It’s probably the worst of the lot.
I don’t like being negative about a film especially when you consider the effort made by all the people involved BUT, there is so little to this film it’s hard to find a redeeming feature. It’s quite obvious where the money went – We get Emma Thompson somewhat phoning it in, Liam Neeson giving the story away immediately and Chris Hemsworth doing his standard bumbling comedic style that made him popular as Thor and to a lesser extent Kevin (yes, the bloke from that Ghostbusters reboot).
Although a pretty unlikable character, Tessa Thompson puts a good effort in to her character Molly. The inherent problem being the studio trying to recreate MiB (1997) without recreating MiB (1997)..
Ok, so that doesn’t make much sense but let me elaborate.
What made the original MiB work was how Will Smith (J) and Tommy Lee Jones (K) bounced off each other. The film showed a fantastic progression of J going from incompetent (in the world of MiB) to competent thanks to the cool head of K and you were left in no doubt that without K, J would fall flat on his face. The friendship develops and we’re left with the knowledge that K could not have completed the final mission without J.
Moving over to MiB International now and we get a very different story. Molly (from now on referred to as M) doesn’t need H (Chris Hemsworth) and indeed, you could have paired her with any agent and she’d have succeeded. This is where the film fails the most, you don’t get the feeling of probie vs oldie. Instead we’re left with H bumbling through his job even though he’s pipped for head of the London office and Neeson (High T – I mean really, what a bloody stupid name even in this series of films), well, Neeson becomes the very obvious bad guy.
There was one character in this dire film I did enjoy, Pawny aka Steve but even then the film manages to ruin him. We get a cursory glance at his race, an apparent matriarchal race based upon Chess but that is ALL we get, no expansion on why the apparent antagonist approaches them regarding assasination, no expansion on why they all become chess pieces when someone approaches, just ‘they exist’. Would it have hurt them to expand on this race a little more, I don’t think I’m asking much.
So Pawny becomes attached to our protagonists and provides comic relief, that’s all you need to know. He helped provide some humour to scenes that felt dull or overplayed, was a fun design and the voice acting fit perfectly. Excluding Pawny, the only other aliens that I felt were well done were the Alien Twins. The initial galaxy / nebula cloud design of the characters looked stunning and in my opinion, was original unfortunately for us, every other design seems to have been scraped out of a childs scrap book.
The story is poor, character progression lacking and the charm lost.
MiB International wasn’t needed, it’s lost all the magic of the original 1997 film and gives us nothing new. Although I’m a firm believer of ‘my opinion is not your opinion’, I’d suggest that if you are a fan of the original then give this a miss.