They are a rumour, recognisable only as deja vu and dismissed just as quickly. They don’t exist; they were never born. Anonymity is their name. Silence their native tongue. They are not part of the System. They are above the System. Over it. Beyond it. They are “them”. They are “they”. They are the Men in Black. So, in the new just released film do they still make this look good?
For anyone who is late to the party, the Men in Black are the best-kept secret in the galaxy. Based on the Malibu Comic (Malibu were later purchased by Marvel), they monitor, licence and police all alien activity on the Earth and act as the first, last, and the only line of defence. Living in secret and exist in shadow the Men in Black take care of Earth which is an established apolitical zone for creatures without a planet. Like Casablanca except with Aliens.
Non-humans arrive every year and live amongst us in secret with, at any given time, around 1500 aliens on the planet (those are 1997 numbers), while most of them are in Manhattan New York the Men in Black are a global initiative with agents and field offices around the Globe armed with only a trusty series-7 De-Atomiser and a Neuraliser capable of wiping the memory of any unaware witness. Where the first 3 films in this franchise have revolved around Agent Jay who is based in New York the field agents you will work with have a slightly larger jurisdiction.
The new film is an expansion of the Men In Black Universe taking a probationary Agent from the New York field office to the London office (and across Europe). Tessa Thompson a.k.a. Agent M fills playing the role of the new Agent similar to Will Smith/Agent J in the previous films. Whereas Agent J was recruited by the MIB, most likely for his rap theme song skills, Agent M’s brush with the Organisation as a child led her to tracking down the Agency to get her post and a first assignment in London under Senior Agent Thor Odinson/Chris Hemsworth/Agent H.
Much of the new film has a feel and texture to it like the original first two movies of the franchise with Aliens, Chromed Rayguns and flashing the occasional unfortunate witness… with a Neuraliser not with the full Hemsworth (although there is some half Hemsworth action).
Where the film does deviate a little is in part where it is a little more International Men in Black of Mystery taking on a more James Bond feel with island fortresses and Black Market weapons traders. While a tiny bit out of character for the franchise so far it does suit the more cavalier MIB Agent played by Hemsworth. And honestly, Black Suits and Ties would have felt more out of place considering the ‘blend in’ policy of the group.
If you are a fan of the first two movies especially this just fills in more of the world and helps with that ‘Why is the World Ending Threat always in New York’ question. The tone for much of the movie is very much consistent with the other films and thanks to a couple of well-placed cameos from the originals, makes this feel like a continuation and very much not a reboot.
So, should you go see it? MIB International is a great addition to this franchise with it also filling in the second chapter of the Hemsworth/Thompson trilogy that we have wanted ever since Thor Ragnarok. If you enjoy watching Thor and Valkyrie riffing off each other or even just a big fan of blasting Aliens this one ticks all the boxes and should be on your watch list this weekend with a box of popcorn.
Men In Black: International is in all cinema across Australia from June 13th.