‘Men in Black: International’ movie review: Avengers Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson gamely deliver cringey lines with straight faces

Original alien-fighting duo Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones did it better

Jamie Lam |

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Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth try their best in 'Men in Black: International'.

Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson try their best, but the cringey dialogue and bland plot make this Men in Black spin-off only slightly better than being abducted by aliens.

When an intergalactic threat known as the Hive threatens to destroy all life on Earth, it’s up to eager new recruit M (Tessa Thompson) and charming but reckless H (Chris Hemsworth) to save the day. With help from a cute pint-sized alien warrior named Pawny (Kumail Nanjiani) and backup from head of London MIB branch High T (Liam Neeson), they must work to secure a powerful weapon before it falls into the wrong hands.

The headlining pair of stars have a good chemistry between them, and the buddy-cop routine works well here. Hemsworth proved he has great comedy chops in his last outing as Thor in Avengers: Endgame and the suave, overconfident but sometimes bumbling H is a perfect role for him. However, the terrible lines he is given to work with are clunky and unfunny, making the whole thing awkward.

Thompson also gamely tries to add a spark to her straight arrow rookie agent, but there are only so many wry eye rolls she can sell to the audience before it becomes cringey.

Despite the potential for excitement, the plot is predictable and boring, even though director F. Gary Gray tries to make this less obvious by taking the audience to many beautiful cities, such as Paris, London and Marrakesh, in quick succession. The obligatory twist is hardly worth the buildup, and the film’s bloated 115-minute runtime could have shortened by at least 20 minutes with better editing.

Action fans hoping that the fight scenes and CGI set pieces would be impressive are also going to be disappointed. The major fight scenes are uncreative and bland, and MIB’s tech department hasn’t come up with any new cool gadgets (like MIB 3’s uni-motorcycle) for this new battle.

Overall, without the well-written banter that was the best thing about Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones’ previous partnership, International falls flat. Do yourself a favour and skip this one, or you’ll wish you had a neuralyzer to make yourself forget this mess.

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