In a time of cinema reboots and remarks, a spin-off of the 1997 science fiction action comedy smash was inevitable. It’s difficult not to get nostalgic for the beloved film series as the iconic music plays over the opening credits in the signature-style font. But early into the film, you begin to see why this unnecessary, unwanted and uncalled for Men in Black rehash resulted in one of Sony’s biggest cinema box-office flops of the year.
International lacks the charm, wit, substance and quirks that made the originals so great. The characters are unlikable, the plot is convoluted and the overuse of alien CGI is terrible. The comparison of the dying Arquillian alien in MIB to Pawny (Kumail Nanjiani) in this is just embarrassing.
The problem is we have seen it all done before. There was a wonderment and mystery in the earlier films, as we as an audience are brought into this mysterious underground world alongside Agent J (Will Smith). In this adaptation, none of the lead characters react to seeing the aliens, scenery or gadgets for the first time.
Tessa Thompson (Agent M) and Chris Hemsworth (Agent H) do their best with the bland material to discover a mole inside the Men in Black organisation, but despite the looming evil, there never feels like much of a threat.
The second act is much stronger than the first, but the ending and villain is clichéd and unsurprising. On a positive note, the movie looks beautiful and the creative teams should be praised for its cinematography, costumes, and prop and creature designs.
International has potential to be a wonderful film, but falls short in its delivery. No easy feat considering its almost two-hour bloated run-time.
However, the DVD makes up for the film’s shortcomings by being packed full of interesting special features including a hilarious gag reel, extended and deleted scenes, and numerous fascinating featurettes.
Men in Black: International is out on Digital, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD from September 25.