Every time I read somewhere that they are remaking or rebooting a movie, I take a second to think and most of the time I say, “but we don’t need another one.” Now I don’t say that about everything, because time can not always be kind to a film and new version for a new generation might be called for. Plus I am certainly all for remaking a bad movie, but why remake something that already worked? There are exceptions to that rule, and that is the expansion on a universe, because for me there is nothing wrong with adding another chapter. When I heard they were adding another film to the Men in Black Universe I was intrigued, and when I heard the cast it got my full attention.
Molly ( Tessa Thompson) saw something as a little girl that would define her whole life. You see, when she met an alien for the first time, she also met the men in black. However unlike most who encounter these mysterious men, her memory was left intact. Fast forward some twenty years later and she has finally completed her mission, she has found the M.I.B. organization and her new mission is to convince them that she should be part of their team. She somehow convinces Agent O (Emma Thompson) to give her a try. Soon Molly becomes Agent M and as part of her probation she is sent to London to assist in a matter there. When she arrives she meets High T (Liam Neeson) who gives her a little direction as to what to do next, but Agent M has bigger plans. She manages to tag along with Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) on his next mission, where it turns out the world and the universe hangs in its balance.
I really am all on board in this for so many reasons. The most obvious is this is a franchise that this could easily be redone considering the previous films all took place in America, but this time around it has to be done with the right agents. The first one worked so well because of the pairing of Smith and Jones, everything else that took place didn’t matter as much because of the two leads. Picking Hemsworth and Thompson for me were the perfect replacements because of their great chemistry in 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok. Both unfortunately are held back by script by Matt Holloway and Art Marcum who I think strips away their natural comedic timing. All the best laughs are given to a side character voiced by Kumail Nanjiani and while I think he is funny as he usually is, he feels more like a crutch than a benefit throughout the movie. The basis for the success of the series previously was the funny man/straight man dynamic which has been working in Hollywood since the 1930’s.
As for the rest of the story, the formula is the same, two cool agents must save the world from an alien who wants to destroy it, and while Hemsworth and Thompson make it look good, neither break out and command your attention. Director F. Gary Gray who in the past has made some solid, thrilling actions films, doesn’t seem to have quite the right handle on the source material. Ultimately Men in Black: International is fine, and stylistically it fits rather nicely into the M.I.B. universe. I think my chief complaints lie where we are with movies as a whole than with this one in particular. Could this have been better? Yes, going with a tried and true formula in a modern setting could have been all we needed. Should they try again? Some may say yes. Unsure For Others.