The fourth of the franchise and a spinoff rather than a sequel, loosely based on the Malibu/Marvel comics of the same name by Lowell Cunningham, the series sees the cool black guy persona replaced by a cool black young female (Will Smith replaced by Tessa Thompson), teaming up with a handsome white guy played by Chris Hemsworth. The tactic works. Thompson and Hemsworth pair very well together.
The film begins with a family scene as if to ensure that all sci-fi films now have a more personal and family touch. The recent two super hero action films followed suit as in DARK PHONIX with the super hero first scene in a car as a little girl with her family and in the family picnic scene in AVENGERS ENDGAME. Molly is a little girl who witnesses men in black in action from her bedroom window while helping an alien at the same time escape. It takes Molly a lifetime before she finds the MIB organization. Infiltrating into the headquarters, she convinces the head, Agent O (Emma Thompson reprising her role) into recruiting her. She teams up with Agent H (Hemsworth) to save the world from the scum of the universe, MIB-style.
The film clearly aims at style. When asked the reasons to wanting to join the MIB organization, Molly responds among other reasons that she looks good in black, the comment also echoed by Agent O. The fights are also stylized, the most impressive of all being the one where Molly battles Riza (Rebecca Ferguson), an intergalactic arms dealer who also has three arms. Gray’s (STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON. THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS) film trudges along too slowly for an action flick, which also seems derive too much off the KINGSMAN and other sci-fi movies.
The plot adds in a thinking element. The MIB organization has a mole. Though it is not difficult to guess who the mole is, the plot (this one) often runs too complicated and is too fast to follow.
The film is shot in exotic locations like London, Marrakesh, New York City and Italy, as the titles proudly announce. The coolness of the locations is reflected in several very cool scenes the best of which is the dance floor scene with the alien Twins (performed by Laurent and Larry Bourgeois, well renowned dancers from France aka Les Twins) a shape-shifting alien un-killable duo who appear a number of times in the story doing their moves. All the MIB agents can do is look and stare.
Has the MEN IN BLACK franchise run out of steam? Quite a few people think so from the well below 50% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes at the current wiring of this review. But not for want of trying. Despite the film containing the new MIB U.K. branch, more hilarious and imaginative alien creatures, politically correct updates and exotic location settings, MIB: INTERNATIONAL has regrettably only achieved minimal results.