Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson reunite on the big screen in the latest, but not entirely needed, installment of the “Men In Black” franchise
By Kirsten Coachman
In 1997, movie-going audiences had their first encounter with the Men In Black (MIB), a secret government agency that works to protect the Earth as they observe and patrol ongoing alien activity. The rollicking, planet-saving adventures of Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) spanned three films, the last of which was released in 2012. Seven years later, it’s once again time to grab your Ray-Bans and have your Neuralyzers at the ready as “Men In Black: International,” directed by F. Gary Gray, hits theaters this weekend.
Tessa Thompson stars as Molly, who as a young girl witnessed her parents get neuralyzed by MIB agents and had a chance encounter with an alien on the loose. Molly’s fascination with other-worldly beings stayed with her as she assiduously applies for top-level government jobs seeking to become one of those people in the black suits. An unwavering online search unexpectedly leads her to MIB headquarters in New York City where she is swiftly caught trespassing. Molly pleads her case to Agent O (Emma Thompson) and expresses her desire to become an agent, emphasizing, “I found you.”
Agent O recruits Molly, and upon passing requirements, the newly-dubbed Agent M is promptly sent on an assignment in London, where she meets the head of the branch, High T (Liam Neeson), and wastes no time offering to partner up with legend status Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) on his latest task. When an assassination of alien royalty takes place on their watch by two members of The Hive, “a hyper-aggressive species,” who were after a concealed galaxy-destroying weapon in the alien’s possession, it becomes clear to the new partners that there’s a mole inside the agency, as no one outside of the MIB was privy to their outing that evening. To find out who’s working against them and prevent this weapon from falling into the wrong hands, Agent M and Agent H journey off to the likes of Morocco, Italy, and Paris as they seek answers and, of course, try to keep Earth intact.
Previously sharing the screen in Marvel blockbusters “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Avengers: Endgame,” Hemsworth and Thompson’s exuberant dynamic seamlessly translated to their “Men In Black: International” characters. With an already proven playful on-screen chemistry as well as solid comedic timing honed during their MCU days, it’s not surprising that the two actors found themselves playing opposite one another again.
Adding to the equation is Kumail Nanjiani who voices the scene-stealing alien Pawny, whom the two agents meet in Morocco after the destruction of his chessboard civilization by The Hive. The CGI character, while small in stature, is fully equipped with well-placed zingers throughout the course of the film.
“Men In Black: International” is a fun, stylish, action-packed watch, however, it is not without its flaws. The film flies a bit too close to the sun with predictable twists and an unnecessary wink at a certain “God of Thunder,” which opens itself up to questions about whether or not a revisit to this franchise was entirely needed. Could we have lived without this latest installment? Probably. But with nostalgia being all the rage these days, “Men In Black: International” will more than likely find itself in audiences’ favor.
“Men In Black: International” is now playing in theaters.