The Media Diorama’s review published on Letterboxd:
Men in Black International had me wanting to be neuralysed over and over again. I can’t. I physically have so much rage within me after watching this, that I’m struggling to keep myself together for the betterment of this review. I’m done. This unnecessary sequel has officially cemented this year’s summer blockbuster season as one of the worst in recent memory. Hollywood has clearly exhausted every possible uninspired route, and this galactic mess just takes the chocolate biscuit. A young girl who seemingly avoided becoming neuralysed, hunts down the MiB organisation in a bid to join them. She teams up with a hotshot agent in London and must stop an evil extraterrestrial race known as ‘The Hive’ from acquiring a world destroying weapon.
The original Men in Black and, to an extent its sequel, was a product of its time. Computer generated effects were popularised by 90s blockbusters. A charismatic Will Smith at the height of his star power. And, let’s not forget, an unpredictably hilarious chemistry between his typically grumpy co-star. It was sci-fi magic, an adventure for all families to enjoy. Fast forward twenty years and we have this sequel. International. Out with old and in with the new, I believe that’s how the saying goes right? So clearly, using that phrase literally, this was to be the best instalment yet? Eh, wrong! So wrong! Couldn’t be any more wrong! So far wrong, that right is now neuralysed and convinced itself to be wrong. This isn’t just the worst summer blockbuster of the year. This is in contention for worst film of the year. Period.
What makes it so irrefutably terrible you might be wondering? Well, where to even begin! Let’s start with the biggest culprit, the screenplay. For a joyous adventure about extraterrestrial life secretly cohabiting with humanity, there’s no joy to be had. A forgettable plot that resembled a carbon copy of its predecessors but excluding any memorable factors. Menacing alien force trying to destroy the world? Blah. Annoying miniature Jar-Jar Binks minion used simply for comedy relief? No, thank you. Sheer amount of plot conveniences (the whole “Molly” thing? Come on!!) to swiftly move the dull story along? Excessive. The writers took the word “International” literally, and shoved as many global locales in as possible in order to differentiate itself from the previous titles. Problem is, that the array of one-dimensional supporting characters were scribbled in such a flurry that the story itself rapidly became boring and uneven. The entire film felt like it belonged in the 90s. It hadn’t evolved with today’s standards. The quips and jokes were far too painstakingly forced that it irked me instead of making me howl with laughter (although no film ever does that…). Every line of dialogue, and I’m not exaggerating, was horrific. Absolutely dreadful.
Changing up the dynamic between the leads, again, was a faux pas. Smith and Jones worked because of their unlikely bond (oh, and a decent script assisted too!). Hemsworth and Thompson was just ‘Thor: Ragnarok Part 2’. Seriously, they play the exact same characters as they did in a Nordic superhero extravaganza. Hemsworth activates “comedy” mode and acts the same way as he does in all of his other comedy ventures. Thompson, who clearly has a considerable amount of talent, just wasn’t given anything meaningful. She did the best she could, and by no means is a bad aspect to this atrocity, but my word was the line delivery bland. The female and male dynamic should’ve created a more engaging experience, but it was just used for a gag about ‘Men and Women in Black’. Coercing a film to be politically correct without physically utilising that standpoint consequently results in the end product being empty. And basically, the film is just that. Empty.
Gray is unable to explore the imaginative world that Sonnenfeld lovingly crafted and instead focused his intentions on uninspired action set pieces that were jarringly edited. The hoverbike sequence in Marrakesh for example was plagued with quick cuts, maximum zoom and highly dependent on grotesque visual effects. But that’s just one example of several set pieces that were technically inept, harnessing an unnecessary amount of obvious green screen backdrops. A predictable plot reveal unravels and the final act of desperation unveils itself to be a two minute showdown holding no substance whatsoever. Then suddenly the story wraps up and we’re jetting off into the distance. Happily. Ever. After.
Empty. Boring. Pointless. I’m seriously struggling to find any redeeming factors. Aside from the two Thompsons turning a dreadful script into something tolerable, this completely unnecessary sequel just about wiped me out. Where were the array of memorable aliens? Why was Ferguson in this? Why as this even commissioned? I’m not one for wanting a film to perform badly at the box office, but I seriously hope this flops. If this is the future for Hollywood productions, that being the disguising of lazy re-hashes into being franchise resurrections, then I don’t want anything to do with it. Just neuralyse me now. In fact, give me the neuralyser and I’ll do it myself! Meh in Black.