So, funny thing. I saw “Child’s Play,” a film I had no desire to see, last week because I’d heard such bad things about “Men In Black: International.” I literally went to see something I didn’t want to see, because I thought it might be better than the film everyone said was garbage.
And then, the next day, I saw “Men in Black: International” because there were no other options. The universe plays its tricks, eh? I went in expecting the worst.
But, here’s the thing: I thought the film was great. None of the “Men in Black” films are meant to be good. The presence of Tommy Lee Jones, who plays a lead in the first three movies, does not equate to a “good” film. The films are just meant to be fun and diverting, nothing more. And the newest MIB fits that formula.
Chris Hemsworth reunites with “Thor: Ragnarok” co-star Tessa Thompson as Agents H and M, respectively. Thompson plays Molly, a young woman who has an interaction with the MIB as a child and spends her life trying to track down the elusive alien squad. (Spoiler alert: She succeeds.)
H and M become involved in an mystery that involves intergalactic espionage, hitmen and more. M is a new agent on probation, while H is a seasoned professional, who’s saved the world with High T (Liam Neeson) a couple of years before. H is a party boy/screwup who is assigned to show visiting alien Vungus (Kayvan Novak) a good time. He possibly prostitutes M, but she catches on quickly and puts a stop to his pimping. When Vungus is killed by galactic hitmen, H and M are thrown into a storyline much larger than they anticipate that involves the most powerful weapon in the universe.
Oh, and there’s a mole in the London office. There, you’re caught up.
While I went in expecting utter crap, I was absolutely delighted to find a film I truly enjoyed. Hemsworth and Thompson have a natural chemistry together. Maybe it’s the time they spent together as Marvel’s Thor and Valkyrie. While the latter two weren’t exactly friends, they played off each other really well. That same chemistry is present in “MIB: International.” Thompson is a young, eager agent who wants to know everything there is to know. In fact, she’s likely studied it already. And then there’s H. He’s the pretty boy that acts first and thinks later, but he manages to have the favor of all those above him.
One of my girl crushes, Rebecca Ferguson, is in this one, too. She plays one of H’s ex-flames, Riza Stavros, who also happens to be one of the galaxy’s biggest arms dealers. H and M become entangled with her when the most dangerous weapon in the galaxy ends up in her (multiple) hands.
Here’s what I struggle with: “Men in Black: International” is not without its problems. It’s not a great film, and it’s not even what I would consider to be a “good” one. But, it’s not meant to be. It’s a fun romp through the galaxy, and Hemsworth and Thompson play off of each other beautifully. Even more important, this is the first role I’ve seen Thompson in that I actually liked. From “Veronica Mars” to “Creed” to “Thor: Ragnarok,” I’ve found her to be an incredible annoyance in each role. Sure, she might have had an important role at times, but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t a complete nuisance or thorn in my side. In each of those roles, Thompson played a snotty, insufferable character. My boyfriend disagrees on the “Creed” one, and he might be right. After all, Thompson’s VM character was my first introduction to the actress and left a rather strong taste in my mouth.
(Additional point of reference: Thompson was also in “Selma,” but I don’t really have much memory of her, so I don’t count that role.)
Bottom line: “Men In Black: International” was never going to be in contention for an Oscar, but it’s a diverting and fun time. Take that for what it is, and plan your entertainment accordingly.