ROGER THOMAS REVIEW: How does ‘Men In Black: International’ compare in the series?

Published 4:54 pm Wednesday, June 19, 2019

I have watched all the “Men in Black” films over a span of more than 20 years.

The first film version of this popular series came out in 1997.

Roger Thomas

Wow! I cannot believe that the first film came out 22 years ago. Time does go so fast. When the first film came out I had no children and I did not know where Stanly County was on a map of North Carolina.

The first sequel of the “Men in Black” came out in 2002. The second film had a very creative title: “Men in Black II.”

By the time this very creative title was advertised, I had a toddler in my home.

Then came a third edition of the “Men in Black” in 2012 and this time they really worked hard to create a title that inspired the audience: “Man in Black 3.” By the time the third film came out my children were 13 and 10 when we went to see it.

I am pretty sure I showed my offspring the first two films before we went to see the third at the theater.

As I look back on those films I remember several things. I remember the performances of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. Their comic performances made the films something special.

The plots of the original films have faded from my mind, but I do remember watching the films on DVDs and having an enjoyable time with the aforementioned children. “Men in Black” was a series we could count on for fun.

Another recollection I have is that each film was a little less than the one before, but they were all fun in their same way.

And now we have a fourth: “Men in Black: International.”

Let’s start with the positive elements in the film. The premise is good. The earlier films focused on American agents of the “Men in Black.” This new film focuses on the “British Men in Black.”

That was a good and creative way to reset the films.

My second favorite element of the film is the visual effects. As I have said often, the visual arts can create anything on the screen these days.

“MIB” certainly deserves recognition for the artists that created settings, creatures, costumes, make-up and a bundle of other effects.

But beyond that, I must depart with the compliments. There are several reasons I think this is the weakest “Men in Black” film.

First, there were too many explosions. I know that is a part of this playful world of the “MIB,” but I just got tired of it. Every 15 minutes or less was another explosion. At one point I said to myself, no more booms.

And booms were not the only element that were excessive. There were an abundance of fights and violence. It was not gory violence, but I still grew tired of that over and over again.

I also got tired of all the creatures that charmed me in the earlier “Men in Black” films.

I also did not find the lead characters interesting. They were just running from one crisis to another.

About halfway through the film I was hoping something would alter the film, but it never came.

I left the theater not sad, but certainly not excited to write this article. I just did not get from this new “Men in Black” what I got in 1997.

But maybe I have changed these 22 years and I am looking for something else.

On the other hand, it could just be completely the responsibility of the filmmakers of “Men in Black: International.”

Maybe the film is just not that fun.

Roger W. Thomas of Albemarle reviews films for The Stanly News & Press.