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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.

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 she has been driven toward being a part of the agency that they work for. Unfortunately, the agency they work 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 tasked with looking after a high profile, scared alien who thinks they are in danger. It seems like a pretty simple mission, so Agent H is paired with the newly recruited Molly, now known as Agent M. Unfortunately, a couple of very dangerous aliens are after their scared alien. 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

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

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 in this movie, because they did in Thor: Ragnarok. In this movie, they obviously played 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 parts well. Agent M was the newbie and she was driven to making it within the secret agency. Agent H was known as a hero within the agency, but he has struggled with filling those shoes. Both characters had a past that they were trying to overcome, and both characters had their own internal struggle. Their chemistry was strong, their characters' stories were interesting, and it was a combination that made these characters fun to follow.

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Con: Predictable (-5pts)

While I enjoyed the writing that went into the two main characters' stories, 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 what the “twist” was going to be right from the beginning of the movie, yet the filmmakers pretended it was not incredibly obvious and attempted 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, but that predictable plot twist was literally what the whole plot of this movie was based around. Unfortunately, it was so predictable that it was hard to get invested in what was happening on screen.

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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 well 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 was a pawn without a Queen, and it was funny to see his overall attitude, as well as how he responded to certain situations. There were a lot of issues with the writing of this movie, but the writers created a pretty silly and entertaining comedic relief with Pawny.

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Con: The Twins (-4pts)

These two were setup as the primary antagonists. I do not want to say anything specific about them, as I do not want to spoil anything, but know that I thought 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 for the protagonists to overcome them. 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 they did not know how to develop them, because they ended up shifting the story’s focus to other, less important 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 down a shallower route, as the lack of development they got was disappointing.

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Pro: Riza (+2pts)

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

Riza lived in her castle on a remote, tropical island, where she had an impenetrable defense system and high security. The character had a unique fighting style and she had history with Agent H. Her fighting style made her action sequence feel unique and fresh, and her history with Agent H added some drama and tension to this story. She did not impact the movie more because she was not in it for very long. She was a character with a lot of potential, but she was a character that the filmmakers moved on from too soon.

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Con: The Hive (-5pts)

The Hive was the species of alien that served as one of this movie’s antagonists. They were also a major part of the predictable storyline that was supposed to be a mystery. In knowing what the Hive did, as well as how they did it, I have no doubt that they could have made for a compelling and captivating villain. Unfortunately, that was not what happened.

By developing the Hive, the filmmakers could have spent screentime focusing on what made the concept of the Hive so 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 movie so much better, if it had just been brought to the forefront sooner, allowing the filmmakers to explore what made the Hive so interesting.

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 was a sequel to the Men in Black movies starring Will Smith, but it was set in the Men in Black's London branch, so we got to meet all new characters. Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson worked well together. They had strong chemistry, and their characters' stories complemented one another pretty well. Agent H was struggling to fill the shoes of his own reputation, and Agent M was trying to make a name for herself within the agency she had been infatuated with since she was a child. Both stories were interesting enough to keep me watching, and while their stories were different, their goals were the same, which helped made them a solid team.

The Hive storyline brought mystery to the story, and while the characters could have made for a compelling story, the filmmakers maintained the mystery by not developing the Hive at all. On top of that, the mystery was extremely predictable, which made it kind of boring. The Twins were another couple of antagonists that could have been interesting, but they were treated as an afterthought. Riza was an interesting character, for what we saw of her, but the filmmakers gave her too little focus as well. Fortunately, the filmmakers handled Agent H and Agent M's stories effectively, which definitely saved the movie from being outright bad. The movie also had a strong comedic relief with Pawny, but unfortunately, the movie's strengths were not enough to make the movie good.

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