If Men in Black: International gets by on anything, it’s the likability of its two main cast members: Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth. But even their chemistry is hindered by lackluster dialogue and a plot that loses traction pretty quickly.
After witnessing her parents being neuralized at a young age by two Men in Blacks, Molly (Thompson) spends the rest of her formative years the organization down, passing every entrance exam to the FBI and the CIA respectively, until she mentions she’s looking for the division that handles cases about beings from “up there.” Instead, she goes solo, tracking aliens herself in order to track the Men in Black, until she walks right into their top secret underground base. Through some quick talking, she convinces Emma Thompson’s Agent O to be a new recruit who eventually sends her to London, where there seems to be trouble.
International never justifies its existence – despite some fun, individual moments. Agent H’s (Hemsworth) ex-girlfriend Riza (Rebecca Ferguson) adds an interesting dynamic to H himself, who’s backstory seems to be questionable for most of the film, giving him a certain Han Solo swagger. Kumail Nanajiani does great voice work for Pawny, Agent M’s alien sidekick, while M’s rookie attitude livens up a lot of the exposition we already know about the Men In Black division.
However, none of this comes together to create a coherent story, and doesn’t skim the surface of interesting. H and M get assigned to protect an alien royal who’s being chased by two element-defying aliens that somehow have a tie-in to a case H worked on with Agent T (Liam Neeson) three years ago. That’s the other thing about International — it spends a lot of time telling its audience about its most important aspects regarding the plot and its characters instead of showing those developments. H actually has an interesting back story —or at least, there’s a hint of one. There are moments where the film almost pauses long enough to really psychoanalyze its characters, but the opportunities for more exploration are swept away by sub par action sequences and plot twists you can see coming miles away.
The market is crowded with sequels of long thought dead franchises. Men In Black: International is just one more that missteps in freshening up a familiar story.