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It's been over 20 years since Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones starred in the original Men in Black and seven years since the previous film in the franchise. In today's modern Hollywood, that means the brand is ready for a reboot, whether anybody was asking for one or not. Men in Black International exists within the same continuity of the original trilogy, but introduces new characters played by Thor: Ragnarok co-stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson.
Reviews for the film are now going online, and based on the reaction, it looks like if you end up seeing Men in Black International, you might want to consider nueralizing yourself when it's over. Reviews are, on the whole, not great. CinemaBlend's own Sean O'Connell gave the film two stars, saying...
It's puzzling that a movie brimming with aliens, and existing in a science-fiction environment that’s ripe for wild extraterrestrial exploration, can end up being so unimaginative.
Sean's review mainly praises the two leads for doing the best they can with what is overall simply a weak story. The movie's twists are predictable and it falls right into standard Men in Black territory with the agents chasing an alien MacGuffin that happens to be a very small but also, very big, object.
The original Men in Black was essentially your standard buddy cop action-comedy, something along the lines of one of the later Lethal Weapon sequels or 48 Hours. The only real difference here being the whole "there are aliens" thing. If you deliver enough laughs and a couple of good action scenes, you're well on your way to making a solid movie, but IGN argues that MiB International fails on both counts...
MiB: International tries to invoke the original, but fails to match its key achievements: it isn't funny or exciting.
The plot focuses on Tessa Thompson's Molly, who learned of the Men in Black's existence as a child and has spent her life trying to track them down again. Upon doing so, she's recruited into the secretive organization, renamed Agent M, and paired with Agent H, played by Chris Hemsworth. H is the golden boy of MiB's London branch, though he's not the man he once was.
The harshest review for the film overall may come from Variety. While most critics view the story as weak, this view takes things a step further, calling the film as a whole simply a "mess."
In terms of basic execution, Men in Black: International is a mess, and if the film were being graded purely in terms of technique, it barely passes muster.
It's difficult to argue. The plot is utterly predictable while at the same time feeling incomplete. Lines of dialogue that appear to be important are left unexplored. It feels like there's more to the story that cut chopped up in the edit.
Still, while most critics are being pretty harsh on Men in Black International, not everybody thinks things are all that bad. Some think that any flaws in the story are more than made up for by the chemistry of the leads. Or, in the case of THR, made up for specifically by Tessa Thompson...
This is a fine and unexpected showcase for Thompson, whose poise and composure are notable. This should lead to more, and hopefully varied, film roles.
Some reviews, like the one from Empire, give the movie a pass even though even the review admits this movie has little reason to exist.
Men In Black: International arrives as possibly the least essential film of the summer. And yet, despite a throwaway story and slightly indulgent runtime... H&M prove surprisingly engaging company.
Pretty much all critics seem to agree on a couple of things that the story of Men in Black International leaves a lot to be desired, and that Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson are pretty great together. In the end, the question is whether the latter fact makes up for the former. Most critics would say no, but a few think the new MiB is a fun enough time, even if it's one you likely won't remember when it's over.