Men in Black: International, the MiB’s Almost Triumphant Return

author img
BY June 28, 2019

Men in Black: International, the soft reboot of the Men in Black franchise. In 1997, Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith made the movie a blockbuster hit. Their unlikely chemistry, Jone’s dry humor mixed with Smith’s energy carried the movie despite a lackluster plot. It was funny, had good action and special effects, and spawned two sequels (one good and one terrible). There were talks to reboot the franchise for a while. At one point, they were going to crossover Men in Black with 21 Jump Street. It’s a shame that MIB23 didn’t come to fruition. Not because it would have been good—but it would have been so gloriously bad. Instead, Sony went with the much less stupid idea to take the New York-based Men in Black and show them working on an international level.

An International Men in Black is What We Needed

Men in Black: International
Not in New York anymore. (Sony Pictures)

While the original Men in Black is a classic, the fact that both sequels stayed in New York now feels like a missed opportunity. MiB: International not only fixes this, but utilizes the global setting well. It’s one of the best aspects of the movie. We get aliens in Paris, London, Italy, and Marrakesh. It’s a good start to a new franchise, and leaves plenty of other parts of the globe for sequels. We can see the Men in Black in China, India, South Africa, Australia—hell, why not Antarctica? Everyone knows that Penguins are just aliens preparing for world domination. Just, hopefully we get a sequel.

A  Strong Pairing Underutilized

Men in Black International
They should have used these guns to blow up the box office instead. (Sony Pictures)

When Men in Black came out, the Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith pairing was a surprise, but International uses a well-established duo: Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson. From Thor: Ragnarok, we know these two are great together, and one of the most exciting things about Men in Black: International was the chance to see them work together again in a different setting. Hemsworth and Thompson clearly love working together, and that dynamic is definitely there. The issue is that the writing didn’t give them a compelling bond. They work together, share some small personal details, but besides that, it seems the writers assumed people would go “oh, Thor and Valkyrie again. Yay.” Their chemistry is there, but there’s no real development for their friendship.

The Living Funko Pop Figure Steals the Movie

Pawny Funko Pop
Actual Size (Funko Pop!)

From the trailers for Men in Black: International, I assumed Kumail Nanjiani’s tiny little alien character would be horribly annoying. I was wrong. Pawny, a small alien whose entire kingdom is destroyed by an alien threat, might be the best character in the movie. This is because Nanjiani delivers his lines perfectly. The animation for the character even gets Nanjiani’s mannerisms right, making Pawny the most developed character in the movie—maybe the franchise. That’s also a problem, though. Pawny is supposed to be a gimmick character, but we like him more than anyone else.

Emma Thompson Needed More Screen Time

Men in Black: International
(Sony Pictures)

The only returning player from the original MiB trilogy is Emma Thompson. Introduced in Men in Black 3, Thompson takes over as the director of the New York branch, and she’s still doing that in International. Granted, this keeps her in New York while her recruit, Agent M (Tessa) travels the world. But M is also on a mission, and once she leaves New York, she doesn’t interact with Agent O (Emma) at all until the end. You think they would be keeping in touch more. Thompson has one of the best characters, and easily rivals Rip Torn’s memorable Zed in the first two Men in Black films; International just needed more of her.

Liam Neeson is Used too Much and Not Enough

Neeson and Hemsworth
(Sony Pictures)

Neeson gets a lot of scenes as the head of the Men in Black London branch in International. He’s not as compelling as Emma, but he’s still fun. But just like the problem with Hemsworth and Tessa, Neeson’s problem is the script. His scenes are repetitive and don’t give him enough development, rendering any surprises with his character obvious from the beginning.

Flawed, but Fun

Pawny!
Please watch our movie. (Sony Pictures)

Even with some of the issues with the writing, it’s still a really fun movie, and that’s because of the cast. In fact, International’s problems are basically the same as all the other Men in Black films. We didn’t need a great plot, just fun characters on a cool adventure. We’re almost there. We have an enjoyable and probably rewatchable action comedy. The sad part is, a sequel could really bring more to these characters now that they’re already established, but the movie isn’t doing all that well. Domestically, it’s only made $57 million on a $110 million budget. Worldwide, it’s made just under $200 million—definitely not sequel numbers. Perhaps it will do well on home release, or Sony, not wanting to give up on a promising franchise, will give it a second try.

Or maybe instead of Men in Black International 2, we’ll get Charlie’s Angels in Black instead.

Grade: B

Don’t believe me about Penguins being extraterrestrials? Well, how do you explain this:

That is not from Earth (Wanderlust Travel Magazine)
Movies

Roman Colombo finished his MFA in 2010 and now teaches writing and graphic novel literature at various Philadelphia colleges. His first novel, Trading Saints for Sinners, was published in 2014. He's currently working on his next novel and hoping to find an agent soon.

Leave a comment

Related

Movies
Will We See a New ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ in 2019?

One, two Freddy’s coming for you. Maybe. Ever since the 2010 remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street failed to connect with fans, the question of whether or not Robert Englund would don the striped sweater has circulated frequently. With the success of Halloween (2018), it would only make sense for other horror icons to […]

BY Mark LoProto April 13, 2019
Movies
Deadpool 3 in Pre-Production, According to Ryan Reynolds

When Disney acquired 21st Century Fox, many fans of Fox properties were apprehensive. Perhaps no community was more nervous than Deadpool fans. If Disney held the contract for the “Merc with a Mouth,” then it would stand to reason that things were going to change. Some of these changes might be fun. Many fans might […]

BY Salomé Gonstad December 28, 2019
Movies
Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon Confirmed by Director Matt Reeves

Reports earlier this week pegged Jeffrey Wright as Gordon for the upcoming Batman film. Now, Matt Reeves, direct of the soon-to-be Caped Crusader movie, confirms the actor for the role. Wright is an Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor, and an absolute delight to watch in any role. From HBO hits like Westworld and Boardwalk […]

BY Taylor Bauer November 1, 2019
Adaptive Switch Controller Goes Viral After Dad Builds Set-Up for Daughter

I thought the collaboration between Nintendo and Microsoft as of late provided a great dialogue on the power of gaming. Instead of fighting with one another over sales, both companies focused on bringing together their fan bases. Well, as it turns out, the company’s efforts helped to make something incredibly inspiring and innovative possible. This […]

BY Taylor Bauer January 21, 2020
Marvel’s Avengers Game Delayed, Second Delay for Square Enix in 2020

Here we are, just weeks in 2020, and another major game is pushed back to the second half of the year. News of the Marvel’s Avengers game delayed isn’t necessarily surprising. In a lot of ways, the move to delay a game to improve its final product is all but routine. Not to mention, a […]

BY Taylor Bauer January 20, 2020
Why Is Cyberpunk 2077 Delayed?: Details on the Biggest Game of 2020

BeingThere are a lot of weird things that happen during the end of a console cycle. For one, developers and publishers start to work on games for the unreleased, future consoles. Usually, that means the current generation consoles sort of get left in limbo. It’s a weird period of time, but one thing left gamers […]

BY Taylor Bauer January 19, 2020
Left 4 Dead 3 Rumors Ended in Valve Statement

It’s funny to think about the state of gaming rumors today. On the one hand, it’s wonderful having so many people looking into the latest news in gaming. Of course, this is going to come with a number of false rumors and unfounded speculations. Here at Comic Years, we try very hard to not report […]

BY Taylor Bauer January 18, 2020

Trending

Marvel TV and Hulu Announce Cast For Upcoming MODOK Series

Marvel TV and Hulu are moving full speed ahead with MODOK, an upcoming animated series. The series will follow MODOK, a supervillain who is quite big-headed, both physically and with his ego. MODOK will be a part of 4 new animated series coming from Hulu and Marvel TV, all leading up to a special event […]

BY Meghan Hale January 22, 2020
New Project xCloud Games Hit Microsoft Service

Project xCloud is Microsoft’s approach to the game streaming wars. With Xbox titles like Gears of War 5 and Sea of Thieves playable from Android devices, the service is likely a huge part of the company’s future. Right now, the service is in a preview state. Players who want to try the experience can sign […]

BY Taylor Bauer January 22, 2020
Disney+ Releases Final Season Trailer for The Clone Wars Promises Epic Ending to Beloved Series

Over the next two weeks, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will end its theatrical run. This means that, once again, it’s possible we will never see a Skywalker on the big screen again. However, such is not the case for the small screen. Disney+ debuted a new trailer for the final season of The […]

BY Joshua M. Patton January 22, 2020
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Season 5 Premiere Shows the Crisis Didn’t Change Much

Technically, the last hour of the Crisis On Infinite Earths finale was the season 5 premiere for DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. (If the giant walking Beebo wasn’t a clue.) However, the spiritual season 5 premiere of Legends of Tomorrow was Tuesday’s episode “Meet the Legends.” In the Legends of Tomorrow season 4 finale, the entire […]

BY Joshua M. Patton January 22, 2020