MEN IN BLACK INTERNATIONAL Review — A Properly Palatable Popcorn Movie

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Men In Black International review — The cunning combination of Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Kumail Nanjiani and aliens make it worth watching.

Men in black international reviewThere are all sorts of ways to revive a franchise: prequel, sequel, reboot, spin-off, gender switch, ethnic switch, new location, animated version, live action version of an animated film, and probably several others I didn’t think of. None of them are slam dunk successes, none of these are guaranteed failures.

Men In Black International is a combo reboot/gender switch/spin-off/new location, with some devices working better than others.

It’s a perfectly passable popcorn movie made totally watchable by a chemistry-filled cast: Chris Hemsworth as the swaggy super Agent H, and Tessa Thompson as the earnest up-and-coming Agent M are a tried and true combo who proved themselves in Thor: Ragnarok. You’ve also seen Thompson’s mesmerizing performances in the Creed films and Sorry to Bother You.

These two are even farther apart than Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. M and E’s their mix of oil and vinegar blend together nicely.

Liam Neeson and Emma Thompson as their superiors are fine as well, but the real star of this sci-fi/comedy/action film light is Kumail Nanjiani, who voices Pawny, a pocket-sized alien who becomes committed to Agent M. Best new sidekick in a decade. Expect to hear Nanjiani do a lot of voice work from now on.

And speaking of ear candy, Danny Elfman’s score adds great fun, as expected.

The plot is basically the same as all the other Men In Black movies: The organization of special agents charged with managing the mingling of aliens and humans on Earth must pull out all the stops when the fragile balance is disturbed and universal obliteration is imminent. There are legions of aliens, both sweet and scary.

Director F. Gary Gray (The Italian Job, Straight Outta Compton, The Fate of the Furious) allows the adept cast to breathe a little new life into the franchise, if he doesn’t totally restore it to vibrant health. Don’t expect brilliance, but do expect a good time at the movies.

Rated PG-13

2 Hours

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Men In Black International review — The cunning combination of Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Kumail Nanjiani and aliens make it worth watching.

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

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