PAIR UP: Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson play MIB agents H and M as they chase aliens around the globe.

Men in Black: International

  • Sci-fi, action, comedy; Cert M, science fiction and violence; 1hr 55mins
  • Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Rebecca Ferguson, Liam Neeson, EmmaThompson, Rafe Spall and Kumail Nanjiani
  • Director: F Gary Gray

DESPITE a strong cast and solid franchise behind it, Men in Black: International flounders in a nonsensical soup of disconnected events.

With former Men in Black mainstays Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones no longer involved, pairing Tessa Thompson (Avengers: Endgame) and Chris Hemsworth (Thor) appears to be a stroke of genius on the surface. Sadly, it results in rather less. The on-screen chemistry the two shared in Thor: Ragnarok is missing here.

The film recycles some of the gags that made the first Men in Black a hit. But in an attempt to make them feel original, the punchlines were replaced for ones that are – well, less punchy. And this is the main flaw of the reboot – it approximates the recipe that made the first one great but falls flat in its execution.

Thompson plays a woman who, as a child, was a witness – along with her parents – of a close encounter with an alien. Though her parents were “neuralised”, their memory of the event wiped by the Men in Black, hers was not. Now, as an adult, she becomes the first person in the world to infiltrate their secret base and convince them to sign her up.

The “International” addendum to the film’s title refers to the revelation that there is a Men in Black for the United States and another for the United Kingdom. The two sides join up to deal with a villain trying to kill-off important members of alien royal families – a plot point also borrowed from the original.

With Hemsworth and Thompson joined by veteran actors Emma Thompson and Liam Neeson as leaders of the two Men in Black organisations, this film certainly has the pedigree to be a hit but lacks the vision and commitment from director and writers to make it a standout.

6/10

mark.rieder@thebeacon.co.nz

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