I liked the original Men in Black movie but that was 1997. A lot's changed since then. Back then, I'd only been out of high school for 4 years. I don't recall seeing it in the theater. In fact, I believe I saw it as a video rental when it finally came out.
I never saw Men in Black 2 but 3, that was a lot of fun. Josh Brolin showed why he has to be in every movie imaginable. He was hilarious. I became invested in that story, enough that I own that film.
Now, when I saw the preview for MIB: International, I thought 'I'm probably going to like it, that will be panned'. This assessment came from a few factors and please be sure to read through them because I promise, I'm not being a jerk:
1) Chris Hemsworth. I love his movies. Blackhat was awesome. I liked him in Ghost Busters. He's funny, he's physical, he's great. But...critics don't seem to be on board with any of this if he's the leading man. And if they ARE behind him, then the movie doesn't do as well as it could financially.
Blackhat: 33% didn't even make 10 million dollars in the US. Cost 70 million. World wide it pulled 19 and a half million. It's a great movie! Michael Mann did fantastic with it. I was sad I missed it in the theater.
12 Strong: 51%. These types of war epics were much bigger twenty years ago than they were when this came out. But in particular, it just didn't catch fire with with people. It made 45 million domestically, 71 million world wide and that MIGHT have been enough against the modest 35 million dollar budget (but who knows with adverts and such).
The Huntsman 1: 50%.
The Huntsman 2: 18%.
Red Dawn: 13%
In the Heart of the Sea: 43% (40 years ago, this would've been a massive epic with awards now, it's one of 'those' movies that were popular when Braveheart was a thing).
Now, there are some shining moments critically as well.
Bad Times at the El Royale (which I loved) earned a 75%
Rush scored an 88%
Even Ghost Busters got 74% (though I'm focusing more on the movies where he's the lead).
Ultimately, for some reason Chris Hemsworth ends up in movies that seem to be ones no one wants. As a result, this is where I came to my first conclusion about Men in Black International.
2) Liam Neeson. His star has faded since Taken. He skyrocketed and could do no wrong but he's said some things that offended people and I don't think he was the bankable commodity they hoped for here. (He did great in the movie by the way).
3) No Will Smith. While there were only 3 movies before this one, the thing that bound them together was Will Smith. While I appreciate the idea that MIB is an organization where plenty of heroes could exist, that made me wonder if it would work here. They could've passed the torch at least but jumping right in to spin off was a bit of a gamble--one that didn't seem to pay off.
All this said, I was right about another thing when I saw the trailer: I figured I'd love it. None of the disgusting goo stuff from the other movies makes an appearance. The story is crazy predictable but in this sort of Atomic Sci Fi story, I didn't expect to be wowed by the twists & turns.
There were some odd cuts here and there, edits that I didn't think should've happened. What few twists there were didn't necessarily work 'awesome' but they were fine. I wouldn't say the movie was forgettable, just not MAGIC.
Men in Black 1 also came out at the height of the X Files, which started in 1993. People were far more interested in aliens back then. It was a huge craze! They aren't doing quite as well anymore.
I would say that Men in Black International deserves a chance. You should see it in the theater because the effects are neat, the comedy is pretty solid and the actors work incredibly well together. I would watch it again.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5
Author of several books, composer of several CDs. Please check out the rest of the site for some of my work.