I was never planning on seeing this movie. Seriously. I could not have been less interested in watching Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth fight aliens and high-five between firing their futuristic weapons. Still, on my school’s college road trip, I signed up to see the only school approved movie, “Men in Black: International,” just to have something to do during our free time in Portland, Maine.
After nearly a decade since the third MiB, the unsolicited reboot released in mid-June stars “Thor: Ragnorak” co-stars Thompson and Hemsworth. Agent M (Thompson) tracked down the MiB after they erased her parents’ minds and was welcomed with open arms. She is joined by Agent H (Hemsworth), a once well-respected member of the organization, who is no longer taken seriously due to his inability to be mature. This unlikely pair joins forces to fight against the alien race: The Hive.
While these two performed well alongside each other in Marvel movies, their charisma faltered due to a script with the density of a saltine cracker and a predictable story that lacked pizazz, making even the most magnetic actors difficult to care for.
Agent M leads as our protagonist. Other than being played by Thompson, there is nothing about her that strikes any interest as she suffers from being one-dimensional. M’s journey as a person is uneventful — her character in the beginning of the movie is the same at the end — which only works in your favor when your lead is as charming as Will Smith. But without Smith’s level of appeal, the only way this character could be tolerable is if she at least gets better. Instead, she remains boring.
Agent H, does not make up for M’s blandness. In fact, he is nearly as dry. He plays your typical uninteresting sleaze-ball, whose main personality traits are “hot” and “makes quips at inappropriate times.” While it was nice to see a “Thor: Ragnorak” reunion, contrary to many fangirls’ beliefs, this pair could not save this film.
For a comedy movie, it was difficult to find anything chuckle-worthy for the entire two hours. My theater laughed the hardest when the small old man sitting in the back row of the theater would occasionally shout blunt commentary with his nasal voice, or when a classmate cooed an “And I oop—” when one of the characters took a heavy blow. The funniest jokes in the film only provoked air shooting quickly out of your nose at most, which were usually caused by the one-liners of Pawny (Kumail Nanjiani) the alien who swore allegiance to Agent M and pronounced her his queen.
The film also features a "whodunnit" storyline as our lead duo suspect that a mole is in their midst. This had the potential to add some spice to an overall stale movie, but was screwed up by the fact that there were only two other characters besides our protagonists that pass as suspects, with one acting slightly more suspicious than the other, helped by the mysterious close-ups of the culprit’s “up-to-no-good” expression, as if the writers had no faith in the viewer’s intelligence. Needless to say, I didn’t gasp when the mystery was revealed. Predictability worked in the 90s, but decades later we should not be afraid to improve.
The most devastating disservice was the lackluster ending battle. The final throwdown is always anticipated to be the most intense and exciting part of the movie. And yet, some of the fight scenes in the middle of the movie were more interesting than the final one, and that isn’t saying much since none of the action stood out to me, besides maybe the fight in the street with the twin aliens.
The special effects weren’t the best I’ve ever seen, but there were some aspects of the movie that looked decent. The two alien baddies are played by Laurent and Larry Nicolas Bourgeois, twin breakdancers. Although it’s obvious they are dancers and not actors, they were entertaining to watch, especially in the club scene where they get the chance to bust a move and show off their skills as “aliens trying to fit in at a bar.”
I left the theater scratching my head at how such a highly-advertised movie could be so lifeless like it was missing an ingredient. It almost felt as though nothing happened. This two-hour movie feels eerily brief, and not because time flies when you’re having fun, but because it seemed to lack so much substance that it was somehow able to feel like a half-hour pilot to a canceled sitcom rather than the resurrection of what was once a popular franchise in America. Once I’m done typing, I’m sure I will have already forgotten about it, right about...now.
You can see “Men in Black: International” at any theater near you.