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Tue, Oct. 15

‘Men in Black’ continues its work protecting the inhabitants of Earth

Sony Pictures Entertainment

Sony Pictures Entertainment

Most notable in the recent reboot of the “Men in Black” franchise is the absence of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. Instead we have new, likable characters in Chris Hemsworth (Agent H) and Tessa Thompson (Agent M) working as Men in Black, the organization that doesn't exist and whose agents are recognized only as Deja Vu.

They work as protectors of the inhabitants of the Earth, whether those inhabitants are human or alien. And it seems there is a huge population of aliens to protect.

For fans of the franchise you'll appreciate that this version doesn't stray far from its original story line. Although there's a new guy in charge, Agent High T (Liam Neeson), he still portrays the emotionally distant supervisor. The new alien sidekick is an adorable chess game piece called a pawn (voiced by Kumail Nanjiani). Thompson refers to it as Pawny. The Agents are hot on the trail of a new alien-created weapon capable of extreme damage (as in creating a new Grand Canyon, and that's on the low setting). Enter a couple of aliens seeking out the weapon and now we have a movie. The new aliens are interestingly creative with a semi-human form with a red cloud-like aura that can take on other shapes. Even the mention of the great bad guy called Hive required high levels of imagination in how Hive was created.

The magical piece missing here is the interaction between Hemsworth and Thompson. There really isn't any. Hemsworth is the veteran party-loving, nonchalant, devil-may-care character whereas Thompson is the straight-laced by-the-book rookie who is amazed and shocked by the various tricks and mechanisms available. Hemsworth almost looks down on Thompson, yet she saves his bacon multiple times. There are a few well-choreographed fights and a well-placed arsenal playing the part of an automobile.

Hemsworth is funny in a slapstick sort of way. It's Thompson who really carries the true Men in Black role. There is backstory on Thompson, but nothing much to draw the audience in about Hemsworth. Even when during a fight he picks up a hammer, reminiscent of his past character Thor, which some may find funny. Hemsworth may have been the wrong pick for the character.

Pawny is the real comedic energy. Especially when Hemsworth and Thompson were using Pawny to talk to each other, Pawny would throw in words and insults as he relayed the message to Hemsworth. Although Pawny kept the message pretty much the same, he was able to spin and tilt the message to insult Hemsworth.

Thompson definitely should be part of any future Men in Black movies. Hemsworth, not so much.

Even the original Men in Black gave a little back story to Tommy Lee Jones, which helped the audience empathize and connect. There are some real slow portions in the movie that may get you yawning and thinking about a trip to the snack bar. But over all Men in Black: International will keep you interested and entertained. It is rated PG-13 and runs about 115 minutes long.

I'll give it 3 ½ Miners.

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