By Kaylee Brewster
Two out of four
“Men in Black: International” would be a forgettable film if not for the leading performers and their fictional counterparts.
Molly (Tessa Thompson) is a smart, tough and determined young woman. She could get a job anywhere but she only wants to work for a place that doesn’t seem to exist, the Men in Black. Then one day she sneaks into a Men in Black crime scene and into a job. She leaves her other life behind and becomes Agent M.
Then there’s Agent H (Chris Hemsworth), who is reckless, arrogant and definitely doesn’t follow protocol. However, when they discover there might be a mole in the organization they team up to save the world.
There is no doubt that Hemsworth and Thompson have chemistry as an on-screen duo. They’ve done it before in “Thor: Ragnarok” and they do it again here. Their back and forth banter works for laughs, even in tense moments.
The comedy of the film is also helped by Pawny (Kumail Nanjiani), an alien the size of a bobblehead doll. His character is clearly there for laughs, but it works. He pipes in to offer more than a few moments of comedic relief and gets some of the best one liners of the movie. He fits right in between M and H.
While “Men in Black: International” has characters, cast and chemistry, the plot could use some work.
The first half of the film is exciting. We get aliens, good and bad, weird and monstrous. We have action, fists to tentacles fights, chase scenes and guns bigger and better than one can imagine.
It’s not that this part isn’t enjoyable, it is fun to see what will happen next and how M and H will get out of it. The “Men in Black” franchise is also good at pulling the rug out from under the audience in terms of when the next alien will pop out and what surprises it will have in store. A character can look like a human, but at the last moment, is revealed to be anything but.
However, none of this goes anywhere or seems to matter.
By the time the final act arrives most of what happened in the first half is inconsequential — not to mention some gaping plot holes that never seem to be answered. It’s like the writers of the film were struck with the memory-wiping devices the Men in Black used and forgot everything from the first hour.
Then “Men in Black: International” appears to be saved as our heroes dive further into the mystery of the mole. Unfortunately, this proves to be a quickly wrapped up, unsatisfying finish.
“Men in Black: International” has parts that help the film be an entertaining alien action flick. To be truly great, however, there are plot and story issues that must be worked out. The good news, for any potential sequel, is that once those get tuned up “Men in Black: International” has the ability to extend the life of the “Men in Black” franchise into something spectacular.