Warning: SPOILERS for Men In Black International are in play. If you haven’t seen the film, turn around and come back once you’ve caught up.
Men In Black International was supposed to be a big step in a new direction for the legendary sci-fi/comedy series. A big step that, depending on who you talk to, had plenty of issues. Which is only fitting because by time the film wraps, we learn that the Men In Black themselves have a bit of a problem within their own ranks, as a traitorous mole almost wipes out the Earth.
Of course, Tessa Thompson’s Agent M and Chris Hemsworth’s Agent H unmask Liam Neeson’s High T as the villain, take him out with the greatest weapon in the galaxy, and go back to their jobs in the ranks of the MIB. Only, Agent H actually gets promotes to the head of the London bureau, because High T wanted it that way.
That decision might be the biggest mistake in the Men In Black franchise, but it's definitely the biggest misstep in Men In Black International. It screws with the film’s story and messes with the prospect for future films, as it not only takes Agent H out of commission as a field agent, it asks a lot of questions about the Men In Black organization in general.
Agent H Still Feels Too Inexperienced To Be A Supervising Agent
We’ll just get the most obvious problem out of the way first. In his grand feat of heroism, later exposed as a fraudulent happening, Agent H and High T supposedly defeated The Hive at the Eiffel Tower. Commemorated in a stylish portrait that T keeps in his office, it’s flanked by only one other portrait: Agents J and K taking down Edgar at the former site of the New York World’s Fair in Queens. Both are pretty big accomplishments at face value, but certainly not on a level to give someone this big of a promotion.
Giving Agent H head of section at MIB London is like putting Agent J in charge the moment Zed vacated his seat as MIB New York’s section chief. But even if that had happened in Men In Black 3, the film that put Emma Thompson’s incredibly sharp O in charge of the New York branch, there was a 15 year gap between those events, and Agent J proved himself as capable. There was only a three year gap between the Paris incident and Men In Black International’s contemporary-set adventure, and in these three years, Agent H has been slacking.
Even Returning To His Former Self, Agent H Has Some Lost Time To Make Up
Only getting the position as head of the MIB London branch because High T left specific instructions to do so, Agent H still has to answer for the fact that he’s been under an alien influence that turned him into the slacker field agent he’d been known to be since the Paris incident of 2016. While three years isn’t too much time to make up for, there’s still a questionable gape in H’s service record, which should immediately disqualify him for any sort of promotion.
While he’s still just a probationary head of MIB London, and that decision would most likely be revoked before a hypothetical Men In Black International sequel, it’s still a bad move. Even if he’s only temporarily overseeing MIB London, Agent H isn’t exactly an agent who is the pillar of respect, especially after coasting on his accomplishments for three years. Though even if he wasn’t slouching and given this opportunity for promotion validly, the fact still remains that Agent H is more of a field agent, especially with his capable new partner offering a proper foil to his exploits.
Agent H Belongs In The Field With Agent M
Taking away the case of Agent H’s abilities as a Men In Black operative, it’s still pretty clear that he’s best used as a field agent in MIB London’s ranks. Even in his lesser skilled mode of working through Men In Black International’s crisis, you can see that field work is his definitely in his skill set. Quick witted, ready with a plan, and easily gliding through his environments, H is pretty capable in field action; especially now that he has Agent M by his side.
M compliment’s H’s flash and style with hard thought and complimentary energy. While H has the plans and the impetus to move forward with them, M is the brains of the operation who can inform their decision making process with the required knowledge. They’re a hell of a team together, and it already feels like a bad idea to break them apart at the end of Men In Black International. Doing so for a management position is even worse of an idea, especially when there’s one particular agent that should have gotten the position without question.
Agent C Is Way More Qualified For Head Of Section
Set up as a red herring for the potential mole of Men In Black International, Rafe Spall’s Agent C seems like a regulatory nightmare when it comes to the actions of our heroes throughout the film. He’s the type that knows the handbook back and forth, and is a stickler for the rules that are part of being a Men In Black operative. But as it turns out, he’s not some evil presence trying to stick it to Agent H and Agent M for the hell of it, he’s doing it because he believes in those rules. And Agent O, despite being wise and seeing everything going on in MIB London, is still okay with Agent H getting the top slot.
That is precisely the person you want in charge of the Men In Black International lot. Agent C’s actions aren’t meant to harm anyone, they’re by book. And if your field agents are going to skip the rules and operate outside of the lines, someone needs to know when to let them loose and when to keep them in line. Agent C is that type of person, who definitely could learn to loosen up a bit, but very easily could run the organization in a way that doesn’t compromise the planet or its defenses.
Ultimately, rebuking Agent H’s promotion as probationary head of MIB London isn’t meant to slam him as an ineffective agent. The man didn’t get to where he is today by merely being a doofus. But giving him the top slot, merely because his boss said so, is an egregious error that should have been called out by Agent O at the end of Men In Black International.
It doesn’t look like we’ll be getting a sequel to this film anytime soon, as the troubles that the film had behind the scenes seem to have spilled over into the film’s theatrical release. But if this story is to continue, there are some decisions that should be questioned to the fullest extent of continuing the Men In Black story, and the greatest concern is giving Agent H the top slot at MIB London.
Men In Black International is in theaters now, but if you’re looking for a new adventure into the multiplex, the 2019 release schedule is going to be your best bet for finding that next round of excitement.