I was utterly shocked this morning when I checked Rotten Tomatoes to see how the new films were scoring. Seeing Men in Black: International at 26% was something I didn’t see coming. I was already planning on seeing it that night and that really put a damper on my anticipation. But I’ve seen bad reviews for films in the past and ended up liking them so I kept a pretty open mind. This latest entry in the Men in Black franchise is entertaining and while some of the material is weak at times, the stars are able to rise above it most of the time.
Despite what the reviews are saying there is quite a bit to like. I’m a huge fan of Chris Hemsworth, and no it’s not just his unbelievable good looks, I also love him as an actor. Actually, one of my favorite things I’ve seen in him in recent years is his ability to both play the dashing male lead and also poke fun at himself. He has that irresistible charm and swagger here and he’s just an absolute blast. Though I’ve only seen Tessa Thompson in one thing, Thor: Ragnarok, that alone was enough for me to see talent. I loved the energy and overall feel she brought to her character. On top of their individual performances, I really loved the chemistry they shared. I got a little taste of that in Thor, but it’s in full force here and it’s just delightful.
On top of the two charismatic stars, we have supporting actors like Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, and Rebecca Ferguson who all handle their roles nicely. I have to say that I especially liked Ferguson in this role, she plays a nice villain. And last but not least, I have to cover one more thing as far as the cast goes and that’s Kumail Nanjiani who plays Pawny. He voices this little alien and it works so well. I loved the humor and fun he brought to the film and to Thompson and Hemsworth’s dynamic. Another thing I liked was the visuals. For the most part the visuals worked and I liked some of the new things they came up with that had never happened in the Men in Black franchise before.
The beginning of the film feels rushed and Tessa Thompson’s character feels very underdeveloped. We aren’t given enough foundation for her character and then all of a sudden she’s obsessed with tracking down the Men in Black and then boom she’s in. It’s all very fast and seeing how that was treated so early in the film gave me apprehensions that that’s how everything else was going to be handled. Thankfully it’s not, but man I wish the beginning would’ve been stronger.
The humor struggles to land at times, predominantly in the beginning. That starts to pick up and improve once Pawny is introduced. While the plot is fine and it keeps your attention, I wanted something a bit more inventive. But I don’t want to make it seem like the writing is completely by the numbers because it’s not, I just found myself wanting more. Maybe we’ll get more in the next film.
So all in all, this film is for sure entertaining, largely because of the main stars and their little sidekick Pawny. Hemsworth and Thompson are able to lift up some of the lacking material. I do hope we get another film because I for one want to see more of these two in action, they just need to recognize the slip ups they made here and improve on them in the sequel.
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