The Men in Black franchise is getting the reboot/sequel treatment this Friday, with the Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth-starring Men in Black: International finally arriving in theaters. This will put a new spin on the 22-year-old franchise, replacing director Barry Sonnenfeld as well as lead actors Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. It's a different look for the Men in Black, but is it a good luck?
Well, the review embargo for International was lifted on Wednesday morning, and the thoughts of critics around the country began to pour online. Unfortunately for fans of the Men in Black franchise, just about every review of the film is saying the same thing: It's not very good.
Some reviews acknowledge that there are a few enjoyable things about the movie, while a couple will actually argue that it's a pretty fun watch. However, the majority of them are tearing down the film for its lackluster action and forgettable plot. It sounds as though the magic of the Men in Black may have finally run out.
Take a look below at some of the reviews for Men in Black: International.
"The original Men in Black trilogy, particularly the first film in 1997, was rooted in the idea that aliens live among us, hiding in plain sight on every street corner and subway train. It was a novel idea made incredibly charming by the wits of Will Smith, the lovable grumpiness of Tommy Lee Jones, and the ability to fit an entire universe into New York City's underbelly. It's all summed up in the beautiful metaphor that served as Men in Black's McGuffin : a whole galaxy hanging from the collar of a cat. A lot of things made Men in Black work, but keeping such outlandish stories grounded (mostly) in NYC was what truly gave this franchise its identity. Men in Black: International loses sight of that idea from the jump, and suffers tremendously for it."
You can read our full review here.
"As he proved in 2016’s Ghostbusters reboot, Hemsworth has a natural comic talent that’s been under-exploited in most of his work — although his recent Marvel projects have picked up on that gift, pairing him with actors with whom he can spar. Meanwhile, Thompson’s star has been quick to rise, and the most satisfying thing about this outlandish extension of the MIB series comes from watching her step up to the challenge of co-headlining a blockbuster. The results may be uneven, unlikely to match the commercial heights of the earlier films, but H and M have kicked open the door to future fun from the Men — and Women — in Black."
You can read Variety's full review here.
"International is better than Men in Black II and worse than Men in Black III, and they’re all bad, so erase this sentence from your memory. This fourquel’s a special bummer, because Thompson and Hemsworth shined together in 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok. Hemsworth reimagined his epic hero as a cheerful doofball with a busted hammer, letting Thompson dominate as a charisma firebomb on a millennia-deep bender. A good idea to reunite them, and that’s it for International‘s good ideas."
You can read EW's full review here.
"But these days, when the world really does seem like it’s hovering on the brink of a cartoonish apocalypse, Men in Black looks awfully quaint. At the same time, the idea of absurd conspiratorial forces and hidden identities has accelerated in an online era defined by both of those things. Yet Men in Black: International, which launches Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth into a bland variation on the same MiB routine, lacks the energy or ambition to make its intergalactic stakes into anything more than baffling cash grab. This misconceived attempt to inject a tired franchise with new life ends up as little more than an empty vessel."
You can read IndieWire's full review here.
"The original Men in Black was a product of its time when it released in 1997: a cool sci-fi movie idea that relied more on Will Smith's comedy schtick to Tommy Lee Jones' straight man action hero than actual world-building - but to great success. After two sequels, Men in Black II in 2002 and Men in Black 3 in 2012, with diminishing returns (critically and stateside, at least), the franchise is getting the quasi-reboot revival treatment with Men in Black: International. The fourth installment in the franchise brings in a new creative team and a new starring duo for an attempt at a fresh take on the original Men in Black idea. Men in Black: International has some modern tweaks to the franchise's premise, but thankfully puts more focus on the comedic chemistry of its leads."
You can read ScreenRant's full review here.
"The best thing about the revamped Men in Black series is actually a woman. Stepping in after three very successful entries starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones for this reboot, Tessa Thompson shines brightly alongside her Thor: Ragnorak co-star Chris Hemsworth as Agents M and H, who set off to surreptitiously thwart yet another alien assault on world order, such as it is.
"In and of itself, this revamp is mildly engaging but also feels like it's expending a great deal of energy for quite modest entertainment returns. It will be surprising if this franchise refurbishment comes anywhere close to the muscular box office performances recorded by the earlier installments, the last of which hauled in $624 million worldwide in 2012."
You can read THR's full review here.
"Men in Black: International will not be the best movie you see this year. There are plot issues, character arcs go unfinished, and the ending felt rushed. But it’s still a campy, cool sci-fi spy thriller—one that coasts on the natural charisma of Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth, who may be one of this generation’s best comedic duos. In a sense, it kind of feels like the perfect sequel to the original Men in Black. It’s an entertaining movie made better by the people in it."
You can read io9's full review here.