‘Men in Black’ delivers lukewarm story


Tessa Thompson (left) and Chris Hemsworth lead the cast of “Men in Black: International” as Agents M and H who defend the Earth against alien invasion.

By Parker Otto, Columnist

There are three kinds of summer blockbusters: those that amaze, those that anger and those that are simply good enough. “Men in Black: International” falls into the third category with two charming leads and a serviceable story with decent action scenes.

As the latest film in the “Men in Black” franchise, “Men in Black: International” jumps across the pond and sees Men in Black Agents M and H, played by Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth, combat the Hive: an alien species who wish to invade Earth through London.

Thompson and Hemsworth’s chemistry is easily the best part of the film. This is the third acting collaboration between the pair after 2017’s “Thor: Ragnarok” and 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame” and their performances in the film clearly shows how comfortable they are with each other. Agent M’s by the book demeanor is perfectly contrasted by Agent H’s party boy attitude and their ad libbed humor breathes life into the film.

The rest of the film is not so fortunate as the script is as standard as one could expect. Aliens invading Earth is a concept dating back to the late 19th Century but “Men in Black: International” offers nothing new to the concept. The Hive is a forgettable collective with no personality which makes it hard to get invested into the film. The script also has a good deal of comedy with about half of it mustering a chuckle and the rest going dead silent.

As for the action, it is flashy and creative at times but it is very standard. Very little of the fights are memorable and the climax is extremely underwhelming. Previous climaxes in the franchise included a battle over New York City and duels at the Apollo 11 launch site. But “Men in Black: International’s” climax takes place in a room. It’s not even a clever battle of wits but just an average fight. For a series known for creativity and imagination, it’s a shame that so little of it appears in this film.

‘Cinematic Espresso’ is the best way to describe “Men in Black: International.” It will give the viewer a rush and leave them somewhat satisfied, but any impact will be gone after a short while. Two charming leads make the film worth the admission price and if one is looking for a simple night at the movie theater, this film just might be enough.