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Movie Review: “Men in Black: International”

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Men in Black: International

Theatrical Release: 6/14/2019

Theatrical Release: 6/14/2019

Synopsis

Molly (Tessa Thompson) had a mysterious encounter when she was a child, when a strange, alien-looking creature was in her house. The creature was followed by a couple of mysterious men, dressed in black suits, who dealt with the situation. Since that day, Molly has been devoted to finding out who those men were and is driven toward being a part of the agency that they worked for. Unfortunately, the agency they worked for is incredibly secretive, so Molly's search has been a long one. However, she finally finds the Men in Black, and her devotion impresses those in charge.

Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) is a bit of a star around the agency. Three years ago, he and his partner completed a seemingly impossible mission. Now, Agent H has been assigned a mission to look after a high profile alien that thinks he is in danger. It seems like a pretty simple mission, so Agent H is paired with the new recruit-in-training, Agent M. Unfortunately, a couple of very dangerous aliens are after their high profile asset. To make things worse, they have reason to believe there may be a mole inside the agency. A mole who seems to be one step ahead of them.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

The ProsThe Cons

Chris Hemsworth & Tessa Thompson (+6pts)

Predictable (-5pts)

Pawny (+4pts)

The Twins (-4pts)

Riza (+2pts)

The Hive (-5pts)

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Pro: Chris Hemsworth & Tessa Thompson (+6pts)

I knew these two would have good chemistry together because I have seen them in Thor: Ragnarok. In this movie, they obviously play very different characters, but their chemistry was still strong. They worked together well, but each character demanded something very different from their respective actors, and both actors played their part well.

Agent M is the newbie and is driven to making it within the secret agency. Agent H is known as a hero within the agency, but struggles to fill those shoes. Both characters have a past that they are trying to overcome, and both characters have their own inner struggle. Their chemistry was fun to watch, their character development was interesting, and the two actors made their stories compelling.

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Con: Predictable (-5pts)

While I enjoyed the writing that went into the development of the two main characters, the writing of the overall plot felt pretty lazy. It was not that the plot was so bad that it did not make sense, but it was just incredibly predictable. I knew who what the “twist” was going to be, right from the beginning of the movie, yet the filmmakers pretended it was not incredibly obvious and had a big reveal at the end of the movie that ended up falling flat. This would not have hurt the movie so much if the focal point of the story was not that characters were trying to solve this mystery. It was one of those movies where the plot was so predictable that it made the entire story feel bland.

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Pro: Pawny (+4pts)

At first I thought Pawny was going to be a very generic comedic relief. However, Kumail Nanjiani ended up making this character a lot of fun. From his sass, to his courage and his fury, the character was always entertaining. I do not want to say any specific scenarios that I enjoyed, because I do not want to spoil those moments. All I will say is that Kumail Nanjiani pretty much played himself, and that worked for this movie. He did not bring anything “new” to this role, but with all of his comedic timing and wit, he was able to make this character a lot of fun.

Again, I was ready for Pawny to be a very typical comedic relief. Yet, it was not Kumail Nanjiani’s performance alone that changed my mind. Pawny was simply a silly character, even on paper. He is a pawn without a Queen, and it was funny to see his attitude in general as well as how his attitude toward his situation. There were a lot of issues with the writing of this movie, but the writers created a pretty silly and entertaining comedic relief.

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Con: The Twins (-4pts)

These two were setup as the primary antagonists. I do not want to say much about this, as I do not want to spoil anything, but know that I think the filmmakers dropped the ball with these characters. They came across as nameless, faceless baddies that were unstoppable when the filmmakers needed them to be and easily defeated whenever it was convenient for the filmmakers. What hurt these characters the most, was the lack of development that they received.

Again, these characters were setup as the primary antagonists. However it seemed like the writers got bored of these characters, or did not know how to develop them, because they ended up shifting the story’s focus to other antagonists. What the aliens were physically capable of doing could have made them feel like a real threat. It also could have made them compelling if the writers gave them a decent story. Instead, the filmmakers went for the more predictable route. As a result, the twins got little to no character development, and felt like they were swept under the rug by the filmmakers.

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Pro: Riza (+2pts)

I really do not want to say much about how this character is involved with the story. That being said, I can say who the character is, as well as what I liked about her, without giving anything away. Riza, played by Rebecca Ferguson, is a ruthless weapons collector. She is basically a Bond villain, set in the Men in Black franchise.

Riza lives in her castle on a remote, tropical island, where she has an impenetrable defense system and high security. The character has a unique fighting style and has history with Agent H. Her fighting style made her action sequence feel unique and fresh, and her history with Agent H added some drama. I liked the character, but I thought the filmmakers gave her far too little focus.

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Con: The Hive (-5pts)

The Hive was the species of alien that served as one of this film’s antagonists. They were also a major part of the predictable storyline that was supposed to be a mystery. In knowing what The Hive does, as well as how they do it, I have no doubt that they could have made for a compelling and captivating villain. This would have been the case, had the filmmakers not dropped the ball with their story.

By developing The Hive, the filmmakers could have spent the film focusing on what made The Hive interesting. However, the filmmakers wanted a mystery. In an attempt to deliver that mystery, the filmmakers chose to keep The Hive in the background. The result was an underdeveloped antagonist that could have made the film so much better, had they been treated properly by the filmmakers.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: C- (73pts)

Men in Black: International is a sequel to the Men in Black movies that have come before, but it is set in the Men in Black's London branch, so we meet all new characters. Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson worked well as the film's lead protagonist duo. The two had good chemistry in Thor: Ragnarok and this movie was no different in that respect. They had strong chemistry, worked well off of each other, and their characters' stories complemented one another pretty well. Agent H is struggling to fill the shoes of his own reputation, and Agent M is trying to make a name for herself within the agency. Both stories were interesting enough to keep me watching and, while both stories were different, their goal was the same (which helped make them feel like a solid team). Unfortunately, the filmmakers threw in a handful of antagonists, but did not give any the focus that they deserved.

The Hive storyline brought mystery to the film and, while the characters could have made for a compelling story, the filmmakers maintained the mystery by not developing The Hive at all. The Hive's storyline, while intended to be a mystery, was extremely predictable (which made it a bit boring). The Twins were another couple of antagonists that could have been interesting, but were treated as an afterthought. Riza was an interesting character, for what we saw of her, but the filmmakers gave her too little focus. Fortunately, the film had decent writing for Agent H and Agent M. The film also had a strong comedic relief with Pawny. Unfortunately, the movie's strengths were only enough to make the movie watchable. It just had too many problems for me to consider the movie "good".