Technical assessment: 3
Moral assessment: 3
CINEMA rating: V14
Molly (Tessa Thompson) earns a probationary term in MiB after impressing “O”, (Emma Thompson), head of MiB who made her undergo a series of tests. It’s a dream come true for Molly who as a child befriended and set free a baby alien that had strayed into her bedroom. In MiB London, Molly becomes the rookie “Agent M” assigned to team up with veteran Agent H, Henry (Chris Hemsworth) Henry, a glib and cocky operative who’ll do anything to accomplish a mission—including having interspecies sex with Riza (Rebecca Ferguson), a glamorous cross between human and octopus. Riza has three arms and she’s an arms dealer—how funny is that—and now happens to be in possession of a little doomsday weapon that H and M must find and destroy, with the full support of MiB London division’s honcho, High T, (Liam Neeson).
With a trite and convoluted plot, Men in Black International (the fourth of the MiB series), can be likened to a dish of plain pasta garnished with nachos, gelatine cubes, jalapeno peppers, sprinkles, baba ghanoush, and Oreo cookies—bland carbohydrates plus garnishings that might be palatable or even exotic when taken singly but when together served as a meal would make you seriously wonder what culinary school the chef got his hat from. The CGI of the outer space creatures look lifelike; the baby alien and Pawny (M’s minuscule alien sidekick) are endearing enough; the action keeps you from dozing off; the gadgets, although generics, are in new shapes; Riza’s outlandish costume matches the character’s eccentricity, and yet altogether they fail to excite. Even the much touted chemistry supposedly carried over from Thor Ragnarok by Hemsworth and Thompson can’t save the day.
What, then, spares Men in Black International from total oblivion by its fans? If you just close your eyes to the abovementioned disappointing elements and focus instead on the human values still enveloped in the story, you’ll find a number of desirable and rewarding traits demonstrated by the characters: kindness to a stranger (Molly saves the life of the baby alien); single-mindedness in pursuing a goal; gratitude for one’s life saved; self-confidence rooted in self-knowledge; sacrificing self-indulgence to give way to service. In the end traitors are uncovered and a good cause is rewarded; it is unmistakable, too, that good triumphs over evil.—TRT
DIRECTOR: F. Gary Gray LEAD CAST: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Rebecca Ferguson SCREENWRITER: Matt Halloway, Art Marcum PRODUCER: David Beaubaire, Howard Chen, Edward Cheng EDITOR: Zene Baker, Christian Wagner, Matt Willard MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Chris Bacon, Danny Elfman GENRE: Science Fiction, Comedy, Action CINEMATOGRAPHER: Stuart Dryburgh DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Pictures LOCATION: United States, London, Marrakesh RUNNING TIME: 122 minutes.