Thoughts on Men in Black: International (2019)

The quickest way to describe Men in Black: International (2019) is to call it a Marvel film that’s more allergic to sincerity and features worse acting. Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson are both fine actors, but here the former (when not doing action scenes) is reduced to his Ghostbusters (2016) shtick, and the latter coasts along on a broad and blunt comedic performance. They do provide a handful of the obligatory GIF-able moments though, so mission accomplished!

The script (by Art Marcum and Matt Holloway) is almost entirely unoriginal but the execution, helmed by F. Gary Gray, is highly polished. This is the second summer tentpole this year for both the use of Marrakesh as a location (after John Wick: Chapter 3—Parabellum (2019)—Orientalism anyone?) and for the appearance of a sentient cloud of energy that plays a key role in the plot (after Dark Phoenix (2019)).

But what really gets me is how functional everything is. Not only is the film essentially a series of set pieces haphazardly strung together, even the stray details prove to be important foreshadowing, almost every single one. The whole thing runs like clockwork, with nothing unexpected, nothing to provoke strong emotion, as if the film is self-aware and wants to clearly demarcate for you the separate realms of escapist film and real life. Nothing sticks in the mind, because nothing sticks out at all.

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