Review by C.J. Bunce
Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones established the franchise with their original story of sci-fi agents tracking down aliens among us in Men in Black. But who knew the franchise could be as fun as Men in Black III, bringing in Josh Brolin to create a memorable young version of Jones’ Agent K? That was until this year’s Men in Black: International, pulling in the look and feel of the past films all under the capable leadership of Emma Thompson′s Agent O. This time we meet the head of the London office, High T, played by Liam Neeson. And the lead agents are just as much fun as Agents K and J.
From the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thor and Valkyrie actors Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson are reunited on the big, and now small, screen, as Men in Black: International makes its way to home streaming services. Thompson is Molly, who as a little girl observes her parents being nebulized by Men in Black agents after a sighting of a curious fuzzy alien. Molly helps keep the alien out of sight of the agents, and he leaves, thanking her with an alien salutation she never forgets. In fact she becomes obsessed with the alien and aliens, and commits her entire life toward making her way into the Men in Black where she, too, can save the world and learn about all of the life in existence “out there.”
She applies to both the CIA and FBI, but no such luck, they think she is crazy–as does everyone else. So she uses her smarts to track down the apprehension of an alien, and makes her way into the U.S. branch, where she meets Agent O. From there she gets provisional status, as Agent M, and is sent to partner with the London’s top agent, Hemsworth’s Agent H. Agent H couldn’t be cockier, and he and High T go way back, having saved the world before together. Agent M and H’s first mission: Protect an alien–an old friend of Agent H–on holiday on Earth. Sounds simple enough, until everything goes wrong. At the center of it all is a previously hidden use of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
The best scenes combine comedy and the many alien varieties you could cram into the London branch offices. Thompson’s agent is thoughtful, kind, and ambitious, and her interactions with new species will remind viewers why they loved movies like E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. The weaponry, cars, and style of the Men in Black series is moving even closer to the feel of the James Bond universe than in earlier films, likely an obvious choice in moving the setting from the U.S. in England. Australian actor Hemsworth borders on playing himself again, or at least the same guy he’s played on film a few times now, but it doesn’t really matter–he’s a blast and owns the scene wherever he turns up.
Look for Mission: Impossible’s Rebecca Ferguson as an incredibly outfitted alien who also shares a past with Agent H.
Chris Bacon offers up a strong musical score, keeping the audience involved in the roller coaster ride, pulling in Danny Elfman’s music from past films while also making this his own.
Both Thompson and the film were up for People’s Choice Awards this year. It’s fun, it’s sci-fi, and it stars two of our favorites. Not to be missed, Men in Black: International is now streaming on Starz, Vudu, Amazon, and other streaming platforms.