Thursday, 20 June 2019

Review: Men In Black International

Men In Black: International (3D)
Cert: 12A / 115 mins / Dir. F. Gary Gray / Trailer

It's great living in the future. Technology has caught up with human imagination to make flawless, photorealistic visualisations of pretty much any story that can be dreamt up. And now this wizardry has been paired with $110m of someone's actual money in creating a franchise-burner which is so linear, perfunctory and crushingly dull that not even Will Smith wanted to turn up for the glaringly obvious cameo opportunity during the first act. Christ.

So, something must have happened, right? During a visit to the Endgame set by a Sony rep checking up on Spider-Man's scenes, something bad must have been witnessed involving Chris 'Thor' Hemsworth and Tessa 'Valkyrie' Thompson, and now Sony are using the dirt as leverage to get them to star in this absolute, grade-A atrocity of a movie.

Men In Black: International is the perfect summer storm of watching people you love doing things you'll hate.


An incoherent mish-mash of previous installments, Hot Fuzz and Kingsman with plagiarised notes from Guardians Of The Galaxy, this is a two hour effects-reel loosely taped together by an elevator-pitch of a script which took longer to read back than it did to write. MiB:I isn't even a bubblegum movie, it's just brightly coloured wrapping paper masking a box which contains nothing of any value whatsoever*1.

The cast look bored and embarrassed in equal measure. Hemsworth clearly hopes the other highlights in his career will consign MiB:I to the 'Oh, I'd forgotten he did that' pile. Meanwhile Tessa Thompson (the actress who almost single-handedly turned a boxing sequel where no one wins the boxing into a layered character-drama) is on hand to literally point and explain everything throughout every scene in the movie. Liam Neeson is acting like someone's set his cadence-dial to 'shit Qui-Gon'*2 then  pushed START on the autopilot. Although credit where it's due, casting Neeson in a movie called "Men In Black" after his last set of promo-interviews takes some balls. And as for Emma Thompson? Look, I know she's everyone's favourite auntie, but between this and Johnny English 3 she should be made to hand back her National Treasure™ certificate at the nearest police station.


By the time Rebecca Ferguson arrives and the film has inexplicably turned into The Man From U.N.C.L.E. by way of Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, all that's left is a series of third-act reveals which have been so heavily telegraphed they may as well have been captioned during the opening titles. You're left with the feeling it's not that MiB:I took seven years to produce, but rather someone spent six and a half years staring at a wall for ideas before giving up and just letting the computer write the damned thing instead. Whatever Sony have got on the Asgardians, I can't see how it'd be as bad as this...

Would make a passable double-bill with X-Men: Dark Phoenix for anyone who's having trouble sleeping.

So, what sort of thing is it similar to?
Imagine the pilot episode of a Nickelodeon sitcom which has gotten out of hand while still being unfinished on the page.

Is it worth paying cinema-prices to see?
It is not.

Is it worth hunting out on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming, though?
It is not.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
It is not.

Will we disagree about this film in a pub?
If you have anything remotely positive to say about the film, yes we will.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There is not.

Yeah but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 1: Qui-Gon Jinn is in this. And so is Canary Wharf, although it's nowhere near as cool as that time it pretended to be Scarif*3.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…
Look, I don't give out enough bottom-marks.
Seriously though, fuck this movie.

*1 Okay, it's supported some jobs in the film industry. I get that. Men In Black: International's biggest claim to social or artistic worth is that it put food on the table for its cast and crew so that they could stay alive for a bit longer to be ashamed of it. [ BACK ]

*2 And remember, I fucking LOVE Qui-Gon. [ BACK ]

*3 Speaking of location-spotting, it looks like Eat have paid the premium for brand-placement in London's scenes. Although that's not as cool as the branch of Greggs which shows up in one shot (literally the only time I smiled). [ BACK ]

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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