Based on comics by Lowell Cunningham (1990), and written by Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, F. Gary Gray’s Men In Black (MIB): International is the fourth of MIB film series (1997-2012) and released under Columbia pictures label which is a Sony company.
Moving internationally – by which it actually gets its title – from Paris to New York, London, and Marakesh, it opens in Paris 2016 where MIB agents high T (Liam Neeson) and agent H (Chris Hemsworth) fight an attack from Hive, the evil alien, at the Eiffel Tower.. And in Brooklyn 20 years earlier, we see a little girl, Molly (Tessa Thompson, becoming agent M after these 20 years), reading Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time in her bedroom where she meets an unlicensed unauthorized Tarantian unexpectedly. While her parents are after this creature in the downstairs, their door knocks and MIB agents show up to talk. Following this talk, they erase the parents’ memories via a cool-looking, blue light neuralyzer when they understand that the parents are aware of such a creature. Molly witnesses all from her bedroom window at the upstairs, and with her memory intact…
Molly grows up and so does her enthusiasm to become one of these MIBs to find the truth of the universe… She applies to FBI and CIA. After her several unsuccessful (!) interviews which lay out the intelligent quotient of any such “big” denotated institutions (please see “up” confusion responsibly😆 – accounting department on the “up”), she finally gets a chance to join the team only if she can prove herself. The recruiter boss makes a cameo as agent O (Emma Thompson) who is the chief of “M”IB and a lady herself. Yet, agent M’s adventure in MIB team starts. That is also where MIB: International goes ahead! No more spoilers after that part regarding the plot 😉
Before moving in-depth, if anyone is expecting a stylish blockbuster sci-fi for its unique effects or visual aspects, it may be good to step back a bit. What one will watch is quite a better story than can be assumed, and a less sophisticated cinematography (Stuart Dryburgh) and visual work. Heavy and messy use of CGI outweighed the practical boldly; and many of the scenes looked tiring, unproportional and blurry. Eventually from the user-end, watching MIB: International on IMAX will be of no help as a proactive hint to the potential audience who would like to see it on IMAX (only 3D can be deemed sufficient). There was also some kind of a divergence between creature costumes and make-up, either one of them too vivid or the other one too numb.
Not having Barry Sonenfeld (former director), or Will Smith or Tommy Lee Jones (former actors) did not affect this reboot in a negative way. Directing obviously reveals that F. Gary Gray has no broad experience or educational background in film directing, e.g., we feel no detailed instructions for actors to adjust their gestures or mime which might have been set more delicately; or we feel no sense of compiling practical effects versus digital. However, the overall effort for direction is warmly remarkable, and also ample to have all at once fly smoothly in one direction.
The script, though not being flawless, is acceptable for a mediocre audience. For example, it would strengthen the whole impression if Vungus’ words, “he has changed. I can feel it. Something happened to him”, would have been placed in another sequence so that the final happening could have been emphasized more strikingly. But as been told above, it is more than welcome for the target audience who think that agent M means the accounting department on the up 😄 😄
Actors (and actresses😊) can be assessed per their own performances given the reason above regarding the direction, also depending on their varied experiences in the industry. If there is an above-average performance, that should be noted as Tessa Thompson. French dancers, les Twins, are also worth mentioning for their perfect body languages in all scenes, even only walking. I found Neeson’s acting a bit exaggerated, most probably due to the aforementioned directing gap. On the contrary, Rafe Spall as the nerd agent H was more expressionless or emotionless than this character should be indeed. Hemsworth’s acting was unrecognizable unfortunately (no beating performance rather than that classical physical appearance of an American small eyed, narrow foreheaded, arrogant character).
To highlight several points that are sprinkled in a well-thought way were some kind of a glass ceiling referral – gender discrimination against women (unforgettable and untold conversation between agents M and O regarding “men” in black term; or agent H wearing pink pants while agent M fits perfectly in black suits). Other bright recall to think on comes from the agents for Vungus “we were once protecting the World from the scum of the universe, now we are protecting the scum”… Anyway, who can tell that the World is not going to save itself when there is a huge population who is not able to discriminate between “up” and “up” or not able to understand what is being described simply?…
MIB: International topped the charts during the weekend of 15th and 16th after its release in US by 14th of June 2019. Maybe truth of the universe that agent M seeks is that the universe has a way of leading one to where one is supposed to be, at the moment one is supposed to be there as high T says… Maybe it will keep being the franchise low of $28.5 million; but I may still recommend anyone to see this action comedy for its consistent story-telling and unboring fast-moving flow.