At least critically, it’s really not looking good for Men in Black: International, the fourth film in the franchise and an attempt to reboot the brand without stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.
Starring Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, reuniting following their MCU films, the movie has been blasted by scathing reviews. The film currently has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 24% and a Metacritic score of 38/100. Audience scores fare a little better – currently with a 5.6/10 on IMDB and a 68% on RT.
Directed by F. Gary Gray, helmer of recent box office hits Straight Outta Compton and The Fate of the Furious, Men in Black: International‘s first wave of reviews have come carrying descriptions like “uninspired,” “inept,” “dull,” and “a disaster.” Hemsworth and Thompson do receive some praise for their charm, as does Kumail Nanjiani as the voice of a little alien named Pawny, but it seems even they haven’t been able to lift the film from what the critics are saying are an abundance of missteps.
Here are some snippets of the reviews hitting the net:
The plot, strenuously cooked up by Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, seems flimsier than ever. And director F. Gary Gray (Straight Out of Compton) — in for the first trilogy’s Barry Sonnenfeld — exhausts himself trying to steer this ship without a rudder.
It is what it is, an industrial product recycled from the remnants of an exhausted franchise and aimed at a young audience that may not know or care what a joy the original was. Still, the fourth episode in the series sets a low-water mark for warm-weather entertainment.
All the sprightliness that Hemsworth showed in the Avengers movies and in the Ghostbusters remake is nowhere to be found: both script and direction mean that the spark isn’t there, and Thompson has no real chance to shine. It’s time to wave the neuralyzer in the face of every executive involved and murmur softly: forget about this franchise.
[…] a clunky, rushed, shapeless picture that lacks any kind of depth, substance, text, subtext or otherwise. “MIB: International” is under the false impression that audiences just want to get straight into alien ass-kicking, lasers, chases, quips, and the likes, but utterly forgets about the inner conflicts, clashes, and chemistry that made the original such a hit.
[…] 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.
It feels like Men In Black by numbers, a trudge from one set-piece to the next untidily glued together by weak gags and sharp suits, never getting us to care about its characters or the world-changing stakes.
[…] Thompson and Hemsworth do their damnedest to brighten the limp material presented to them. The film wants to be loose and improvisatory, but also needs to follow the beats of a sci-fi mystery story. It gets caught, then, in some awkward middle place, where the wan, off-hand jokes can’t hold up to the zipping alien action.
Director F. Gary Gray reduces his leads’ chemistry into action heroics. They’re attacked by invulnerable aliens who look precisely like the invasive space dust from Dark Phoenix. […] Gray films this whole globetrotting tale with little flair or feeling.
What saves this not-nearly-odd-couple-enough screen partnership from plain awkwardness is Hemsworth and Thompson’s easygoing chemistry, which occasionally transcends the lacklustre screenplay. But not even a souped-up visual effects department can get this Men in Black reboot out of second gear.
Yeesh, right? Box office wise, MiBI hasn’t gotten off to a hot start. The film saw a lacklustre $US26.3 million opening, the lowest-opener in the franchise. Sony did play it smart, however, by reportedly spending around half of MIB 3‘s budget of $US225 million. We’ll see where this one ends up financially when all is said and done.
So, have you seen it? If so, what did you think? Are these critics correct or way off the mark? Sound off in the comments section below.
Men in Black: International is currently showing in Australian and US cinemas.