The Dove Take
The Men (and Women) in Black are back for another adventure that updates their familiar formula of comedy and cartoonish violence for a more modern audience. Families should be aware that language and violence, while less exhibited than in other action adventure films today, are still prevalent.
The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization.
Twenty-two years after the original Men in Black comes the fourth film installment in the series, Men in Black: International. As the name would suggest, this is the first time we are taken on a trip with MiB outside of the United States, but it is not the only first for the series. Gone are our friends, Agents J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones), and the only reference to them is a single painting relegated to the background of the MiB offices. In their place is now primarily Agent M (Tessa Thompson), a new agent proving her worth by working with the hero of the London branch of MiB, Agent H (Chris Hemsworth).
When their first mission together goes awry and Agent M is only able to talk their way out of trouble by stating there might be a mole in MiB, M and H soon find themselves as rogue agents investigating that very possibility to keep themselves safe. The familiar laser gun-fighting violence of the series continues in International, but there is no blood or gore. Furthermore, the few on-screen deaths that are shown (while potentially unnerving) are not in any way realistic, leading to a kind of cartoon-like violence feel that is not common in many action films today.
Thompson and Hemsworth are not strangers to each other as leads on a film, as they worked together on 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok. The pair, however, never seems to reach the potential of their on-screen charisma together that was shown in Ragnarok. Their casting, the writing, and the story of this film can all be described in a single word: stale. International does not take many risks at all in its presentation and writing, and indeed this is why our two lead characters, and the film as a whole, seem to fall a little flat. While it is a fun and straightforward action adventure film with some nostalgic elements to it, Men in Black: International leaves something to be desired, particularly for movie-going families this summer. It is not Dove-Approved.