‘Men In Black: International’ Review: Chris Hemsworth’s and Tessa Thompson’s film fails to live up to its potential

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Film: Men In Black: International

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson

Director: F. Gary Gray

 

The science fiction action comedy that started in 1997 about two suited agents (Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones) of a secret organization called Men In Black who police alien activity on earth had a lot to live up to when the trailer for the spin-off film Men In Black: International was released.

Starting off on the right foot, the latest flick managed to get itself a great cast. Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson star as Agents M and H, tasked with fighting a malicious alien force called The Hive, while also trying to find a mole in the organization. Everybody’s favourite angry dad Liam Neeson and British legend Emma Thompson barely manage to add a soft impression to the film with their special appearances.

Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson in Men In Black: International 

Recommended Read: 'Men In Black: International' screening: Kriti Kharbanda, Siddhant Chaturvedi and Daisy Shah mark their presence

The film opens in Paris 2016 with Chris and Liam battling a major alien invasion at the Eiffel Tower. While its 2-minute action sequence is fun, the audience wants more than the franchise trademark of ‘over the top sci-fi elements’ which are not being used to their potential. State-of-the-art visual effects and background score help elevate the pace but it still lacks a strong punch.

Chris Hemsworth and Liam Neeson in Men In Black: International 

The film does this a lot, unfortunately. Poor writing is the price to pay for the sake of the two lead characters. Fans may recognize the Chris-Tessa pair as Thor and Valkyrie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and though it wouldn’t be fair to discredit their amazing (non-romantic) chemistry on-screen, it still isn’t enough. The H and M dynamic is an old one. The pair is riddled with common tropes of the reckless loner who thinks he’s too good for anyone and the goody-two-shoes who wants to impress everyone. This is what makes Men In Black: International safe and unchallenging.

Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson in Men In Black: International 

But this is Chris' show. The actor very successfully continues to roll on the wave of the quirky charming persona that he built in his last couple of screen outings and he does it bloody well. But he very soon ends up being an obnoxious schmuck for the major part of the film, leading other Agents to say that “he has changed” since the 2016 Paris incident. At some point of the film, the idea of Chris being the villain is even teased and director F. Gary Gray could have shocked us all by making the big pay-off lead to that reveal, but alas.

Chris Hemsworth in Men In Black: International 

Tessa, on the other hand, leaves her mark on the audience. In a flashback scene from 20 years ago, we are told that her character Molly was just a child when she encountered an alien entity who she helped escape. While her parents are neutralized by MIB agents, the little girl spends the next 20 years trying to find the truth about the universe. One of the most solid sequences comes when Molly tries to convince Agent O to recruit her and the banter that ensues is so good that you almost wish they team up in New York itself. Molly’s transformation into a MIB Agent isn’t milked enough as well.

Tessa Thompson in Men In Black: International 

 

The unexpectedly hilarious performance in the film comes in the form of Kumail Nanjiani’s Pawny. A little green armored chess set, Pawny is the one who injects a lot of the sharper, meaner gags in the film but its effect manages to wear off easily.

Kumail Nanjiani as Pawny 

The villains in the film, the Dyads and The Hive, are fairly enticing but the audience fails to connect to their villainy due to lack of information. The film builds up the answer the question, “Who is the mole in Men In Black?” but even that pay-off which comes in the climax is weak and predictable.

Men In Black: International is a victim of not wanting to stand out. The apparent conflicts in the film aren’t severe enough to be ‘life or death’ level, Chris and Tessa on-screen are strong but nothing quite seems to mimic the magic created by Will Smith and Tommy Lee in the original trilogy and diehard fans of the franchise are in for a slow and mildly disappointing ride.

PeepingMoon.com gives MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL 3 Moons 

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