Whilst the original Men In Black way back in 1997 was a brilliant science-fiction action comedy harnessing the powers of Will Smith at his height, the subsequent sequels were tired reshashes of the same plot over and over again. So it is no surprise that the series has been given a soft reboot where we’ve pivoted away from Agents J and K to focus on new characters.
The only problem is that whilst we have some slightly new characters, Agents H and M played by Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, they’re being plugged into another tired rehash of the same old story. We’ve got a new Agent learning the ropes with a more experienced partner while they attempt to protect a small MacGuffin. There is an attempt to spice up the story a little with some intrigue around a potential traitor within MIB London, but the twists around this are easy to see coming from a long way off. It is a shame that in a world where so many sci-fi shenanigans are possible that they always seem to fall back on the same old repetitive story formula.
Thankfully in Hemsworth and Thompson the franchise has added some great leads. With already established chemistry from Thor: Ragnarok we all knew they were a safe pair of leads who are capable of delivering the comedy. Alongside the pair Kumail Nanjiani voices Pawny, a small alien that H and M befriend. He absolutely has some of the funniest lines in the film, as you would expect from a comedian as brilliant as Kumail. The other bright spark is Rafe Spall’s performance as Agent C, whose rivalry with H does provide some good laughs, particularly when they have a nuraliser standoff. But with all these comedic talents more of the comedy should land than it does, the jokes just aren’t strong enough a lot of the time.
Given that the comedy was very hit and miss you would at least hope that Director F. Gary Gray could deliver on the action front, after all he has made films such as Law Abiding Citizen and The Fate of the Furious. But for the most part its lackluster. It doesn’t help that the villains that H and M are going up against are incredibly forgettable. The first Men In Black has such a brilliant antagonist in Vincent D’Onofrio’s Edgar the Bug, and he’s one that they’ve managed to live up to. The Twins, MIB: International’s antagonists certainly don’t come close, and their strange shapeshifting powers don’t lend themselves to great action sequences.
If you have loved every Men In Black film then this newest iteration will be something that you’ll enjoy, but for most this is just another sequel that fails to capture the originality and fun of the original.