In all honesty, to create a fourth ‘Men In Black’ film without the inclusion of a front-woman would have been a death sentence from the beginning. Since its inception in 1997, the Men In Black narrative has simply remained the same – the end of the world, two men to save it – so when the first trailer for Men In Back: International surfaced in late December, the reuniting of MCU stars Chris Hemsworth and new female agent Tessa Thompson turned heads and welcomed in a new audience of Marvel fanatics.
It’s safe to say that there was always something so engaging about the original franchise – whether it be its nostalgic effect or the first of its kind during a ’90s Hollywood – so naturally, hype stirred. But overnight as the film reached an audience of media and film critics alike, the morning’s following reviews penned the 2019 rendition as flat. Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian described the film as “Meh In Black”, while CNET said that it will be “forgotten in a flash”. Though despite the disappointing reviews, all positives pointed back to Tessa.
Having to live up to the OG Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, the International lineup was promising. Featuring Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson as well as Liam Neeson and Emma Thompson, the acting – particularly from Tessa – is quick-witted, humorous and light-hearted, and the new-age effects and life-like interpretations of intergalactic creatures are engaging. The script is made up of subtle pro-woman quotes – “Welcome to the Men In Black”, says Agent O. “The Men In Black?” asks Agent M. “Don’t. Don’t start. I’m working on it.” – and with cultural references (Kanye West even got a mention), its strong focus on key details in turn fell short on the overall story line.
It’d be harsh to divert MIB fans and viewers from attending the cinema to view the 2019 film, because despite its lack lustre storyline, it had a room full of Sydney-siders – adults and children – laughing along with every anecdote. Will it win an Oscar for its film-making or screenwriting? Probably not. And though it may not have viewers revisiting the film time and time again, it is overall entertaining and just a little bit nerdy.
Men In Black: International is in cinemas now. Check out the trailer below.