MEN IN BLACK INTERNATIONAL review by Rahul Vedantam – Chris Hemsworth & Tessa Thompson defend earth

MEN IN BLACK INTERNATIONAL review by Rahul Vedantam – Chris Hemsworth & Tessa Thompson defend earth

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MEN IN BLACK INTERNATIONAL is cookie cutter, but surprisingly not to a fault. By now, a summer blockbuster being mildly self referential and featuring tongue-in-cheek action is not a surprising event. And in the era of reboots and remakes, it’s the best way to keep a film entertaining without being offensive to older fans. Nevertheless, this tactic means any attempt to bring us back to the turn of the century, where audiences were excited to discover inventive alien comedy worlds, is thrown by the wayside for a quick beat by beat flick. MEN IN BLACK INTERNATIONAL is summer cinema at its core, nothing less, but sadly nothing more.

Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth work well together, and their proven chemistry in THOR RAGNAROK is likely why they were chosen to lead this reboot. Thompson plays Molly, a smart, overly driven new recruit who has spent her entire life trying to enter the Men in Black after accidentally seeing them as a child. Hemsworth continues his streak of playing loveable, sloppy, think-with-your-gut heroes, now dawning a suit as Agent H, one of the Men in Black’s top agents, famed for saving the world 3 years ago with his mentor High T (Liam Neeson).

The best summary of the movie comes in the form on Pawny (Kumail Nanjiani), a small chess alien that joins our heroes as comic relief. Pure comic relief characters are almost always unbearable, but Nanjiani continues to prove he is a boon to whoever will have him. The character is built to fill space and time, but he is enjoyable nevertheless, which is an apt metaphor for the entire film.

The film spends most of its focus on Hemsworth and Thompson, but attempts to dabble in sci-fi fun a bit; however nothing is as entertaining as it was the first time around. Hemsworth’s car has an ever expanding storage of powerful weaponry, one alien disguises itself as a man beard, and everything looks very good (given it had a $110 million budget). The villains of the film are nebulous shape shifting aliens that do very little other than look cool, but that they do very well. MEN IN BLACK INTERNATIONAL is forgettable and flawed, but if all you are looking for is a fun summer flick, you’ll find it here.

MEN IN BLACK INTERNATIONAL opens June 14th, 2019

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