And the June Gloom continues. For the past decade summer blockbuster have been getting a bad rap, mainly the ones that come out in June, hence the Gloom. June summer movies are basically now considered the January dump month movies. Summer blockbusters that studios don’t have a lot of confidence in. I’m not saying ALL of June movies are like that, but some. Other than probably Toy Story 4, look at the films that are coming out: yet another reboot of Shaft that didn’t get good reviews, The Dead Don’t Die which didn’t get good reviews, Dark Phoenix sucked ass, Secret Life of Pets did not get good reviews, the remake of Child’s Play which probably won’t be good, Anna (the poor man’s John Wick), and Annabelle Comes Home. You literally just have Toy Story 4 and Yesterday. Which brings us to MEN IN BLACK INTERNATIONAL, from where I said the “June Gloom continues” you can probably put 2 and 2 together on my thoughts. This new soft reboot (it’s very obviously a sequel but only has an Emma Thompson cameo as a continuation, she obviously walked across the street from the Late Night set, also new out this week), isn’t terrible, but it’s not good either. It has a strong first 30-45 minutes and then struggles enormously with its story, pacing, climax, and overall entertainment value.
During the first act of this I was wondering what the fuck critics were talking about. If there is one strong thing in this film that remains constant it is the wonderful, joyful performance from Tessa Thompson. She completely steals the show from everyone and makes me wish that a. she was in more things and b. made them fix the script before actually signing on to star in it. The first 30-45 minutes is mostly all her story, with her trying to track down the MIB all her life after she saw her mom and dad get neuralized after they see an alien in a house and she doesn’t. An alien which she sees, interacts with well and then lets go out into the wild, which you know will be brought back later in the movie at a crucial life saving time. She finally tracks them down, lets them know she has no attachments to life left, and she gets hired on a probationary basis at headquarters. Right off the bat she gets her first mission and that there might be something fishy going on in London near their other headquarters there. When she finally teams up with Chris Hemsworth is when everything falls off the rails.
And the problem isn’t with Hemsworth at all. While their chemistry in Thor 3 was better, they still work pretty well here where the script switches it up as she’s the rule following rookie and he’s the senior slacker. I liked that. It’s the story that I didn’t give a shit about. At the beginning I thought it would finally bring a main villain to the series (aka their Voldemort) with an alien race called “The Hive,” where this alien race can transform into anyone can manipulate the form of non-living things, but nothing really cool or interesting is done with it. Basically there are these twins at the forefront that can do all this and, it mentions this right at the beginning, they aren’t really Hive they just have their DNA in them or something like that. That part was a little confusing. Anyway, they are after this handheld Death Star like weapon and the whole journey to get it is bland and boring save for this one sequence out in the desert where they meet an ex-alien four armed girlfriend of Hemsworth, played by the great Rebecca Ferguson. She breaths a little life into the ho-hum dragging pacing of the story.
And the climax really isn’t all that great either. I was constantly being reminded of the ending of the much much much much superior first film, and it kind of felt like a bit of a rip off. Also, if you’ve seen the trailers, and you were one of the ones to point at the screen at one of the new characters and said, “whatever bad thing is happening in this film is probably this person’s fault or they’re behind it all,” you are probably right. Right when the first teaser trailer came out for this thing, I guessed the ending, and I was correct, and when it was revealed that I was correct, I got really bummed out. I thought of several other different options they could’ve done, several different paths I was praying they’d take, and they took the most boring option and made it more boring believe it or not. And while I liked Kumail Nanjiani’s voice little small pawn chess piece alien character, he honestly didn’t do much other than being in one of our main MIB pockets for the rest of the movie, and Liam Neeson’s talent is completely wasted here.
The action is bland, boring, and not exciting at all, but I’m not going to blame director F. Gary Gray. He has proven that he is a pretty solid director and can even bring some excitement to the most bland of sequel scripts (see Fate of the Furious). The blame completely falls on Sony Executives and the script. It feels like they went with a first draft just to get it into production. And even though you might look up the screenwriters and see that they co-wrote the first Iron Man, the rest of their filmography is one giant pile of shit, as they also wrote Punisher: War Zone and Transformers: The Last Knight. So yeah, no wonder this movie felt uninspired. When you write action scenes where two protagonist characters are standing on one part of a set, and the bad guys are standing on the other, and our two heroes are just blasting away at them with different guns, going to the next one when one of the weapons doesn’t work, and nothing else happens in that action sequence, THE STUDIOS NEED TO MAN UP AND HIRE OTHER WRITERS TO PUNCH UP THE FUCKING SCRIPT.
And again, the movie isn’t terrible, it’s just bland. And it makes me not want another Men In Black film for quite some time, if ever. The best thing I can say about this movie, is at least it was better than Men In Black II. You want to talk about horrid… Tessa Thompson, Christ Hemsworth, and all the big names attached to this movie, it isn’t going to ruin any of their careers. In fact, any movie makers that do see this will see the spark in Thompson and maybe attach her to a fantastic script where she can do multiple wonders and even get nominated for an Oscar one day. It’s just a minor speed bump in the road of failing franchises. But hopefully its a noticeable speed bump in that maybe studios will take a closer look than just try and rush things into production. But you know Hollywood. The same or some other studio will make the same mistakes in just a few years, and then be like the MIB using their memory wiping Neuralizers, and then try and use those devices multiple times to make you forget that these ho-hum projects exist.
Rank of Men In Black Movies:
- Men In Black
- Men In Black 3
- Men In Black International
- Men In Black 2