'Men In Black: International', the latest in the 'Men In Black' ('MIB') franchise, has been copping fandom-rage since the first trailer dropped.
According to some corners of the net the lack of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones – and a clear violation of the apparent ‘no lead girls in action flicks’ rule – mean that childhoods have been retroactively ruined. But for all the hype and hysteria, the new 'MIB' is a great addition to the franchise, filled with the same action, comedy, and wonder as the original trilogy. If you like your reboots funny, ass-kicking, and able to balance humour and compelling emotional content, you’re going to love 'MIB: International'.
There’s action aplenty, and the sort of CGI that’s both dazzling and so well-done you forget there’s not actually aliens wandering among us (or maybe there is…) but it’s the characters who make this movie shine. Gleefully adopting the roles of witty, snarking mentors O and High T, Emma Thompson and Liam Neeson add the same gruff warmth as Tommy Lee Jones at his finest, without overdoing the similarities. With the roles of Agents M and H played to perfection by Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth, there was no doubt the lead characters would work well together. But at times, it did feel a little like the Thor and Valkyrie buddy cop movie we never knew we needed. Maybe it’s because of the movie’s proximity to 'Avengers: Endgame', maybe it’s because 'badass warrior queen' and 'adorkable but charming hero' seem to be their natural states of being. Whatever the reason, the 'Ragnarok' vibe certainly isn’t a negative here.
The problem with reboots is that there’s always the risk of needlessly rehashing the old work to profit on sentimentality, or erasing the previous franchise and leaving it feeling like badly-crafted fan-fiction. 'MIB: International' is clearly the start of a new storyline, paying service to the Will and Tommy Lee era without going overboard profiteering on the nostalgia. There’s still the witty banter, sexy suits, earnest ridiculousness, and gigantic shiny guns. It's a return to the comedic, alien-filled universe we know.
There’s certainly scope here for more stories to be told, and even a darker undercurrent that would be incredibly interesting to see explored in future films.
'MIB: International' might not be everyone’s ideal return to the 'MIB' universe, but if you can bring yourself to imagine the Men In Black without the iconic original duo, you’re probably going to love this movie.