Women Can Be Men In Black Too…Hooray!

“Men In Black: International” is the latest in the “Men In Black” film franchise in case anyone couldn’t figure that out by the title.  Yes, it continues the series which previously starred Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.  This time, we get two new agents portrayed by the hunky Chris Hemsworth and the undeniably gorgeous Tessa Thompson.  Thompson, of course, being the one who kept my attention the most, for the obvious and politically incorrect reasons.  Although as well as being quite eye-catching, Thompson puts in an unsurprisingly good performance.  I am not surprised that she kept up well enough with the talents of other more seasoned actors such as Emma Thompson and Liam Neeson because I have seen quite a bit of her other work and can’t recall anything where she was disappointing.  She has already established engaging chemistry with Hemsworth from their time together in recent MCU films. A couple of fellows named Art Carcum and Matt Holloway are the scriptwriters with F. Gary Gray directing this latest cinematic venture.

The film starts off with a young girl witnessing the intervention of a couple of MIB agents when they are tracking a cute little alien that has managed to elude them.  The girl sees the employment of the famous neuralyzers which erases the memories of her parent’s encounter with the mysterious MIB.  She grows up to be some kind of genius who is able to find the headquarters and is recruited by Emma Thompson’s characters.  There are two actors named Thompson in this one, so this could get a little tricky.  Anyway, the newly minted Agent M is sent to London where she meets Liam Neeson’s High T and Hemsworth’s Agent H, and the two new partners have to go on the run, find some other alien weapon, and then a mole in the agency.  Typical MIB hijinks.

This film is pretty easy to mock in many ways, but it does work better than I expected for another installment in a probably overdone franchise.  Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson do work well together.  Even the ridiculous tiny alien sidekick known as Pawnee, voiced by Kumail Nanjiani, was not as annoying as he could have been. I actually ended up liking the little guy, and those kind of characters usually are rather obnoxious.

Rebecca Ferguson plays the lead villain here as an arms dealer who has well…three arms.  She apparently is a former flame of the hapless Agent H.  She’s fine in this role. There’s a pretty good fight scene between her and Agent M.

There were some nods to the prior films, but not too much, which I sort of appreciated. I don’t mind a tip of the hat to what came before, but that sort of practice could get a little distracting if one is trying to introduce new characters and elements into a long-running franchise.

There are times when the writing and editing falls short on coherence, but the charisma and performance of the cast is helpful in making that somewhat forgivable.  It’s not entirely forgivable, but I didn’t leave the theater in a rage over a misspent afternoon. Some of the supposed twists and surprises were not all that hard to predict.  I was pretty entertained, particularly in the second half.  If the head honchos here decide to reunite Agent H and Agent M, I might still be willing to give them another go, hoping for a better plot, of course.

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