Humanity’s fascination with the stars, and existential dread about our existence, has provided ample fuel for imaginations the world over for extra-terrestrial life. The discussion over their actual existence has led to resistance, real or imagined. One such example noted for their black suits was the Men In Black, they were the subject to a popular franchise, but have recently fallen out of favour with filmgoers. In 2019, the black suits of the M.I.B. expanded their horizons in the pursuit of alien threats in Men In Black: International.
After a procedural screw up, a young Molly Wright becomes aware of an elite alien enforcement force known as The Men In Black and has decided to spend her life to join them. Rejecting the highest government agencies to do so. After finding and infiltrating their secret base is promptly given probationary recruitment and assigned to their London offices. It is there she is branded Agent M. She and her new partner, decorated hero Agent H, quickly get to work. However, a vast conspiracy may have wormed itself inside the bureaucracy of the agency, and even the most revered mentors may not be the ones to trust.
This spin-off/reboot focuses on an entirely new cast, as is typical, yet it captures what made the original duo’s partnership so fascinating. Tessa Thompson takes the helm as strait-laced and professional Agent M. Agent M is eager to learn and prove herself, but already demonstrates tremendous ability. This is countered with the more lose and hassle-free behaviour of the more experienced Agent H. The quality and quantity of the quips from Chris Hemsworth and his laid-back demeanour quickly warm audiences to his character and the interplay between him and Thompson is thoroughly enjoyable, though this is not exactly their first big-budget debut. While unfortunately Agents J and K do not return, Tom Lee Jones deadpan lives on in Liam Neeson, who plays the London branch’s leader, High T. Along with Raif Spall is a fun inclusion as nosey and distrustful Agent C, along with the likes of Emma Thompson as the current head of the M.I.B. International retains its tradition of hiring stellar talent to patrol the stars.
The London offices of the Men In Black are like the offices of the other M.I.B films, sleek, silver with the gag of showing famous celebs as aliens and or alien enforcers is still paying off dividends here. The London branch is host to some extravagant portraits of the heroic conquest that the agents have undertaken. The action is not just focused on London, as the film jumps at the chance to explore Marrakesh, Paris, and other exotic locales all filmed on location. They all look stunning especially when augmented with world-class effects. Particularly with the inventive creature design, both in their concepts and execution. A notable example is this Alien chess pawn, that accompanies the duo (aptly named Pawny) that sees Agent M as his new queen (it is either that or his death). Pawny’s inclusion is one instance of just some of the inventive options in-store.
International lives up to its name, with a globe charting atlas of locations, and galaxies of inventive aliens, and ample attempts to restore intergalactic order. Although the M.I.B.’s era of blockbuster entertaining sci-fi action may be behind them, the top-notch adventures of International does a lot to remind the audience of its roots. An entertaining opening to possibilities to come as the previously dormant world of the M.I.B. is given a kickstart, you could say Agent H and Agent M’s future lie in the stars.
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