Men in Black International

Without Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, this MIB continuation is bland and unfunny.

A funny thing happened to me during a screening of “Men in Black International.” The movie was zoomed in a bit, instead of the regular angel you always see in the theaters. The top and bottom screen was basically cropped off, and people in the audience were complaining. So the manager in the theater said they couldn’t fix that problem, but was able to refund our money long after the movie was over. And that works out perfectly, because the movie is a bomb.

I grew up on the original “Men in Black” movie with Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, and I’ve always enjoyed seeing them battle aliens, wear black Ray Bans, and erase people’s memories. That’s what they like to call “neurolyzing.”

The second one was a guilty pleasure, but then the third movie from 2012 was an improvement. I’ll never forget seeing it with my sister.

As for this one, it now reunites Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, who were both fabulous together in “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Avengers: Endgame.” In “Men in Black International,” they offer nothing original or lively. Sometimes, they have awkward dialogue and situations, and it leaves me cringing a bit.

For example, Thompson’s Agent M obviously has never seen a James Bond or Austin Powers movie, because she doesn’t know that in the UK, the steering wheel is on the right side. Hemsworth’s Agent H explains that quickly.

The plot is predictable and scattering, as it not involves two shape-shifting aliens (in the forms of the Les Twins) coveting a secret weapon, but someone in the MIB London Headquarters could be a mole. I knew who it would be this whole time.

The supporting actors also include Emma Thompson reprising her role as Agent K’s secret lover Agent O, Liam Neeson as the UK MIB boss, Rebecca Ferguson as an alien arms dealer, and Rafe Spall as the typical agent, who’s suspicious of the two main agent’s actions. I hate how their characters play out. At least, Neeson tries to survive it.

And even more annoying is a tiny alien (voiced by Kumail Nanjiani), who joins the two agents on the mission. The comedian was wonderful in “The Big Sick,” but here, he’s nothing but a generic CGI creature with no sharp dialogue, whatsoever. In fact, most of the aliens look boring.

The best thing in the movie is the score by Danny Elfman and Chris Bacon. It helps captures the original movie’s tone and energy. If only the talking pug Frank wasn’t just a cameo, and if Smith and Jones could appear, not on a portrait.

Director F. Gary Gray has made some fine movies like “Friday” and “Straight Outta Compton,” but coming on the heels of “The Fate of the Furious,” he needs to acknowledge that when trying to continue a story, he needs to do more than just allow Hemsworth and Thompson to grab the star-billing.

“Men in Black International” is a comedy dead zone.

⭐️1/2

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