Men in Black: International (2019)
June 17, 2019 3:42 PM - Subscribe

The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization.
posted by numaner (9 comments total)
SPOILER FREE TLDR: This was a predictable but fun movie. It does live up to the franchise, even better, I think, in terms of action and humor.

Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth carried the chemistry they had from the Thor and Avengers movies into this one and it worked pretty well. The pacing was quick enough to keep the action going, but didn't let the characters have enough time to earn their moments. There's the fill-the-quota scenes about love lives, ambition, family, etc, but they felt by the numbers and I wanted more of them.

I did enjoy the actions and all the side characters though. Pawny was adorable and hilarious, and he teetered right on the edge of being the annoying sidekick, but he never got there. The alien twins were rightfully suspenseful, especially in their misty glowy alien forms. There's something to unpack about how they chose middle eastern men to be the menacing "villains", but you could argue that it was location based and that they weren't actually the baddies. In that department, with the recent controversies it was kind of satisfying that Liam Neeson eats it at the end. A slight redemption for High T in a quick moment was fine, but I knew he was dead as soon as soon as the final scene in Eiffel started.

I think what felt lacking was that this was such a fresh sequel to MIB that I missed the character arc we had for Agent J. The third movie established the "fated" beginnings of J's eventual recruitment, and the emotions in that was earned through 3 movies. On balance, I think I'm spoiled by that, and objectively this movie probably did a better job on characterization compared to the 1997 original. We are experienced movie watchers, after all, and when I said things felt "by the number" it's because we've seen it all before. Does that mean this movie could've been better? Yes. Does it mean it wasn't good? No. I think if you like the franchise and you like sci-fi action in general, you'll enjoy this one.

Also, the painting of when J and K saved New York was a neat easter egg!
posted by numaner at 3:59 PM on June 17, 2019

I have to say that despite high hopes my experience was less positive; I felt that an excellent cast were rather underused and the chemistry between Thompson and Hemsworth wasn't anything like as good as in Thor: Ragnarok, and I'm afraid Pawny was too much of a Scrappy Doo for me.

Part of the problem was that in the original Men in Black J has to learn and grow into his role as an MiB Agent, whereas M seems to just hit the ground running. (Yes, unlike J she knows that the MiB exist, but it's apparent that she knows nothing about them or how the organisation works until she's inducted.) I can understand that the writers might have wanted to avoid the film being too much of a rehash of MiB, and there was the humour of the newbie being more competent than the supposed experienced expert, but to me it sounded too much of a wrong note.

I also felt the film would have benefited from more exposition at the end, especially as to why H was so inept. We're told that High T was infected by the Hive and neuralized H to make H think that the two of them had defeated it, but that doesn't explain how H manages to be London's star agent despite his behaviour and incompetence. The implication from High T's comments about how H isn't the man he was, and C's insistence that High T is covering for H for some reason, make a lot more sense if we assume that H was not only neuralized to forget that the Hive wasn't defeated, but was subject to a form of post-hypnotic suggestion that he turn into a horribly Flanderized version of himself (one who presumably would not notice, as O was suspecting, that something was wrong with the London branch.)
posted by Major Clanger at 4:02 PM on June 18, 2019 [3 favorites]

I thought it was fine: not bad enough to be mediocre, but not quite good enough to be good. I also thought that their chemistry wasn't really quite up to Ragnarok/Endgame levels. Frankly, Hemmo was way funnier in Ghostbusters: Answer the Call. At least some of this probably had to do with their roles seemingly written without playing to the actors' strengths. There was also the matter that the trailers gave away some of the better, more original parts of the movie--Pawnie, the car that's really a gun wall, the infiltration of MiB--which left M's crashing MiB's NYC headquarters, which was a nice mixture of cleverness (using her work computer--also good job on the call center, although they really should have had cubicles for more realism--to track incoming UFOs, having the iconic suit with her to quick-change into) and naïveté (thinking that she could just walk in), and the bit at the end when she realizes that H was just repeating the same shorthand version of their victory over the Hive over and over. And the head-fake of C not being the mole was also good. But, in the end, it was a competently-done installment of a venerable franchise, and not much more than that.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:45 PM on June 21, 2019

I had more enjoyment reading the industry gossip than the movie, which, yeah, wasn't bad but wasn't good either.
posted by cendawanita at 9:30 AM on June 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

I think I did myself a favor by not trying to watch too much of the trailer.
posted by numaner at 2:16 PM on June 24, 2019

I thought it was fine: not bad enough to be mediocre, but not quite good enough to be good.

Thank you for articulating my own thoughts so clearly.
posted by mikelieman at 1:38 AM on July 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

This will become one of the classic "left on during chores" films, where you can stop and watch a fun scene but no real need to pay attention. I thought there could have been more fun moments, she just saved a bunch of alien civilizations, that gets around, so why weren't the aliens giving her high fives and low tentacle kudos?
posted by sammyo at 4:36 AM on July 24, 2019

Oh good, the gossip explains why it felt very disjointed. Any number of scenes ended up all OH HELL YEAH and *cut* to the next scene and the mood and energy was just dropped on the cutting room floor. It was all right, but yeah, it set up a few things that it never really bothered to resolve.
posted by Kyol at 8:30 PM on August 25, 2019

Came into this with very low expectations but was pleasantly surprised. It was better than I remember 2 or 3 being. The leads are so charming you can’t resist. Pawny managed to stay on the right side of the Scrappy Doo line, in my opinion. Reading the linked article above, I am sorry we didn’t get to see the version the director wanted to make. I blame Parke’s interference on a huge chunk of the movie not making sense.

(Why did the Dyad Twins need the poison from the chess aliens to kill Vungus when they could have just melted him on the spot? Why poison Vungus but then just blow up his car anyway? Why blow up his car when what they needed was in his pocket? Why was Vungus carrying the weapon anyway? Why did the Dyad Twins kill the chess aliens and the shopkeeper?)

Also, I’m not the kind of person who tries to out-think the movie they’re watching, but it was so obvious that High T was the mole. I did like the bit about H having been neuralized, though—him repeating that they defeated the Hive with their wits and a couple of Series 7 De-Atomizers put me in the mind of Agent Coulson repeating that Tahiti is a magical place.
posted by ejs at 4:19 PM on March 19, 2020

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