Editor’s note: We all love movies, but rather than ask a syndicated columnist who has never visited our beautiful High Desert, we commissioned our own local movie critic: Nolan P. Smith to review films and give us a local perspective. Enjoy!
By Nolan P. Smith
I love the Men in Black franchise. From its history when it all started with a comic book series from Malibu, to the wildly successful and entertaining films starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, and even Josh Brolin, I have loved the stories told from the beginning. With Men in Black: International, the black suits are back in this sort of a soft reboot, but does the film ring true to what made the previous films successful?
Directed by F. Gary Gray, the film stars two new agents to the audience: Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) and Agent M (Tessa Thompson), as well as the leader of the MIB International branch, High T (Liam Neeson). Agent H is the experienced yet careless veteran who has saved the world in the past but has been a bit off for years. Agent M is a recruit who found the MIB headquarters after devoting her life to the unknown upon meeting a small, furry alien when she was a child. M is sent to London on her first mission, and she gets far more than she bargained for.
The duo ends up guarding an alien that turns into a murder mystery, with a mysterious artifact in place as the two agents race to save the world. Throw in a small, chess piece of a character, Pawny (Kumail Nanjiani) as a sidekick, and we are off to the races. The fate of the world hangs in the balance; the agents are armed to the teeth with high tech firearms, there is trouble brewing internally at MIB, sounds like a home run, am I right? I was hoping so, too.
The most significant aspect missing from this film is the heart. Chemistry. We don’t connect with the two agents because there is nothing to connect with. Agent M’s past is boring, making her character one dimensional and hard to care about. Agent H is a little much and still feels like it is Thor playing the role, not Chris Hemsworth. But there is no connection between the two, which is odd as the same two actors had great chemistry in Thor: Ragnarok. I chalk it up to a weak story, which is incredibly predictable to the point where I was thinking, “that can’t be it, right?” But it was.
Again, I love the MIB franchise, and I want it to continue. Was I expecting the same chemistry we saw with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones? Not at all, that was one of a kind. But I was hoping to care about these agents, and it just didn’t happen. If we get a part 2, I think another agent needs to be added to the mix, and more backstory needs to be given to Agents H, and M. Men in Black: International has the look and feel of a summer blockbuster, it just needs a little heart to make it great.