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Men in Black: International


Stars: Tessa Thompson, Chris Hemsworth, Kumail Nanjiani, Rebecca Ferguson, Rafe Spall, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Les Twins Laurent Bourgeois and Larry Bourgeois

Director: F Gary Gray

The sequel strikes back.

And, given that this latest bite into the highly profitable Men in Black franchise is patently audience-aimed and seeks to offer filmgoers more of what made the previous pictures so profitable, it has gained rather more critical opprobrium than ii deserved.

Art Marcum and Matt Holloway's serviceable screenplay sensibly segues into special effects-driven action whenever possible, taking advantage of the utilitarian creative decision to expand the alien-fighting adventures of the MIB all over the world, rather than sticking to their established home base in New York.

And, sensibly, they introduce a new character in indomitable Brooklyn rookie M, played for all its worth and reasonably endearingly by Tessa Thompson (the other Thompson - Emma - returns in fine bossy form to organise MIB agents) in their latest battle to save Mankind from assorted hostile aliens that, driven by better-than-ever special effects, inevitably deliver some of the most memorable performances in a busy story that takes distinguished Man in Black Hemsworth (delivering a likeable performance that pleasantly balances charm with determined kill-the-aliens havoc) to save Mankind yet again.

The decision to take MIB action all over the world pays off handsomely in a series of lively action sequences set in attractive locations including London, Marrakesh and Italy, all driven by state-of-the-art movie magic with the Eiffel Tower ('God, I hate Paris!' moans Neeson) in a well-taken starring role.

Hemsworth's considerable charm compensates for his sometimes by-numbers characterisation, Tessa Thompson's Molly is fun to watch and she works well as Hemsworth's new partner-cum-acolyte, while director Gray makes the most of his material to deliver a lively, audience-friendly, critic-sneer-creating fantasy action epic that makes the most of what it has to offer, while never quite rising to the level of its series predecessors.

(The end credits were inevitably almost long enough to qualify for release as a second feature. Indeed, if every member of the legion of contributors named in these credits were to pay to see Men in Black: International, then the it might well break box-office records).

Alan Frank

USA 2019. UK Distributor: Sony. Colour.
115 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 15 Jun 2019