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REVIEW — “Men in Black: International”

(from left) Agent M (Tessa Thompson) and Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) in “Men in Black: International,” directed by F. Gary Gray.

Directed by F. Gary Gray, Men in Black: International follows the unconventional (and forgivably predictable) adventures of novice Agent M (Tessa Thompson) and veteran Agent H (Chris Hemsworth). And with a new director, new leading characters, and new settings, this installment definitely had a lot more on the line than other neighboring spin-offs.

(from left) Agent M (Tessa Thompson) and Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) in “Men in Black: International,” directed by F. Gary Gray.

Thompson and Hemsworth obviously had some predetermined chemistry before coming into this film, which elevated their collective performance as a leading duo. Their timing and connection were certainly respectable; however, the real stars of this film were the supporting cast members. With the comic relief of characters like Pawny (Kumail Nanjiani) and Agent C (Rafe Spall), there were a handful of unpredictably laughable moments.

(from left) Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) and Agent M (Tessa Thompson) in “Men in Black: International,” directed by F. Gary Gray.

But, despite those redeeming comedic interruptions, the overall humor of this film was a bit confusing. Some scenes were laced with dry, witty lines that felt natural, while other moments felt forced with highly generic jokes. It appears the Men in Black: International script attempted to appease two very different types of people (but not at the same time).

Pawny (Kumail Nanjiani) in “Men in Black: International,” directed by F. Gary Gray.

Delivery of social commentary can make or break a feature, and it almost broke this one. This film got the female vote early in the first act with some oddly relatable dialogue from Agent O (Emma Thompson). But, by continuing to push the feminine agenda in unrelated situations, it eventually felt slightly disingenuous and over exhausted.

Agent O (Emma Thompson) in “Men in Black: International,” directed by F. Gary Gray.

Men in Black: International didn’t ask viewers to watch the previous installments, but it also didn’t offer much to those who did. With sometimes displaced references to the original films, this version sometimes seemed more like an episodic sci-fi series than a fluid feature film. Although this rendition was obviously different from its predecessors, it felt more like an unnecessarily expensive fourth installment than a fresh take on a classic franchise.

(from left) Agent M (Tessa Thompson) and Agent High T (Liam Neeson) in “Men in Black: International,” directed by F. Gary Gray.

Rated PG-13, Men in Black: International is in theaters now. 2.5/5

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