Men in Black: International is a 2019 American science fiction action-comedy film directed by F. Gary Gray and written by Art Marcum and Matt Holloway. It is a spin-off of the Men in Black film series, which is loosely based on the Malibu/Marvel comic book series of the same name by Lowell Cunningham.  The film stars Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Kumail Nanjiani, Rebecca Ferguson, Rafe Spall, Laurent and Larry Bourgeois, and Liam Neeson. Emma Thompson reprises her role from the third film, while Tim Blaney returns to voice Frank the Pug from the first two installments. Wikipedia

Talks of a fourth Men in Black film began after the release of Men in Black 3 in 2012. In February 2018, Hemsworth signed on to lead a spin-off while Gray was hired to direct, and Thompson joined the cast the following month. Filming took place in New York City, Morocco, Italy and London from July to October 2018 (Wikipedia). When news of the new men in black movie titled “Men in black international” surfaced it left a bemused expression on my face. The movie was set to hit cinemas by May 2019 but was postponed to June 2019.  I tell you, it was a miracle. After a pre-release advertising campaign that made the film’s key images more readily available than oxygen itself, “Men in Black International” finally arrived in the nation’s theaters. Your first inclination would be to yawn, but this time the prefabricated hype is actually supported by what takes place on screen.

“The Men in Black have expanded to cover the globe but so have the villains of the universe. To keep everyone safe, decorated Agent H and determined rookie M join forces an unlikely pairing that just might work. When aliens that can take the form of any human arrive on Earth, H and M embark on a globe-trotting adventure to save the agency and ultimately the world from their mischievous plans”.(Google)

There’s something funny going on in the MIB. , that is perhaps unremarkable. When you work for the Men in Black, you’re liable to see all manner of “funny” when you punch the clock. Maybe a thousand-tentacled creature is walking through the halls. Or perhaps a family of literal bubble-brained alien creatures disguised as human enjoying soda via osmosis. But at MiB, “funny” is relative.

In fact, for all the strange and colorful creatures that regularly pass through London’s truly cosmopolitan MiB headquarters, the one thing no one seemed prepared for was a mole. When a party-hearty alien prince ostensibly under MiB protection is killed by a couple of shape-shifting assassins, it becomes clear that not all these Men (and Women) in Black are who they appear to be. And High T, London’s bureau chief played by Liam Neeson is determined to investigate.

This scenario begged the questions, Could the culprit be Agent H, the roguish, irresponsible lad who’s still regarded as one of the agency’s greatest heroes?  The man who, along with a still-in-the-field Agent T, saved the world with (as is often repeated) “nothing but his wits and series 70 de-atomizers”? Could it be Agent C, a bespectacled, by-the-book bureaucrat who has taken his loathing of the handsome Agent H to new and, perhaps, unprofessional levels? Or is it possibly newcomer Agent M? If an outside agency was investigating, seems like she’d initially be the prime suspect. After all, she essentially broke into MIB headquarters and practically insists someone make her an agent (which someone did). Then she attached herself to notorious loner Agent H, thus earning herself the plum assignment of guarding the now-dead prince. (Then again, she was the one who formulated the whole “mole” theory in the first place.) Or could it be an actual Mole?  An intergalactic one from a few galaxies away? (PLUGGEDIN)

According to the MIB franchise, the universe is a pretty hostile place. Who knew, right? In addition to the cold, dark, inherently unlivable vacuum of space beyond our atmosphere, MIB: International tells us that even its habitable parts sometimes hold hostile aliens who’d like to kill, eat and perhaps use us as dental floss. While most of Earth’s intergalactic immigrants and visitors are peace-loving businessmen, vacationers or refugees, some are serious threats and the MIB exists, in part, to deal with those threats. It’s not an easy job, and we see that its agents often risk their lives to battle these interstellar interlopers. Both agents H and M do so repeatedly. They’re joined in their adventure by a pocket-sized alien that M calls “Pawny.” (He was a pawn in a strange chess-based culture.) He swears to serve and protect M faithfully, and he’s as good as his word.


Men in Black: International was theatrically released in the United States on June 14, 2019 by Sony Pictures Releasing, under its Columbia Pictures label. The film has grossed over $250 million worldwide and received generally unfavorable reviews from critics, who criticized the “lackluster action and forgettable plot,” although the chemistry between Hemsworth and Thompson was praised.  (Wikipedia)

We should, I suppose, be grateful that the Men in Black film franchise has never been particularly faithful to its source material. The 1990-91 comic series by Lowell Cunningham gave us the original, paper-bound Men in Black agents who not only dealt with extraterrestrial visitors, but all manner of supernatural bogeymen. They didn’t just wipe witness’s memories; they sometimes killed them. And rather than protecting humankind, they sought through their mechanizations to control it. In some ways, they weren’t so much agents Mulder and Scully of The X-Files as they were its Cigarette-Smoking Man. PLUGGEDIN)

MiB: International holds true to the film franchise’s light tone. But it spots some extraterrestrial problems, too. Moreover, despite featuring the talents of Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth, MiB: International feels curiously flat and uninspired. Men in Black: International feels less like a fully functioning movie than an effort to wring just a wee bit more cash from a tired franchise. And while that’s hardly an alien concept in Hollywood, it’s a shame that such a star-studded sequel should be quite so earthbound. (PLUGGEDIN)


On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 22% based on 289 reviews, with an average rating of 4.47/10. The website’s critical consensus reads, “Amiable yet forgettable, MIB International grinds its stars’ substantial chemistry through the gears of a franchise running low on reasons to continue”. On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 38 out of 100, based on 51 critics, indicating “generally unfavorable reviews”.  Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of “B” on an A+ to F scale, the lowest score of the franchise, while those at PostTrak gave it a 72% overall positive score and a 46% “definite recommend”. (Wikipedia)


Featured Photo Credit =Wikipedia

By Micheal Osuji

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