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Force Fed Sci-Fi decided to see and release a bonus podcast episode this week focusing on the newly released film Men In Black: International! If you didn’t already know, we released a bonus episode last week covering the first Men In Black film in preparation for this week, so check it out if you haven’t already! Join us though for this podcast episode as we discuss the crew and cast of Men In Black: International, Men In Black: International Will Smith missing cameo, offer our Men In Black: International review, talk about the Men In Black: International budget, and a few other topics along the way!
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**WARNING: Spoilers for the film Men In Black: International ahead!**
Men In Black: International Plot
The main synopsis for Men In Black: International on most of the websites prior to the film read something along the lines of a young woman named Molly seeks out the secret agency Men in Black and is eventually recruited into the organization. She is then paired up with Agent H to fight and stop a series of alien attacks around the world in order to save the Earth.
Well this is relatively generic, so let’s dive a bit deeper shall we?
Yes we get Molly as a young girl discovering that Men in Black’s agency exists and that she eventually finds the agency only to team up with Agent H. However, she and Agent H guard an alien called Vungus, who has actually come to Earth to warn of a problem with the Men In Black agency and gives a planetary-ending weapon to her. Then we find that different alien species are trying to obtain this weapon for their own use, but Agent M and Agent H set out to protect this weapon in order to prevent it from getting into the wrong hands.
That is a bit more of an expansion on the usual plot that people were getting prior to the film and actually, you’ll see in the rest of the show notes a few more details about the plot while covering some of the cast of Men In Black: International below.
Crew and Cast of Men In Black: International
Men in Black: International Cast
Chris Hemsworth as Agent H
Chris Hemsworth departs from his well-known Marvel Cinematic Universe role of Thor and takes a position within the Men In Black as Agent H in this film. His character struggles throughout the majority of the first half of the film. He’s someone that doesn’t like to follow the rules, gets in trouble, likes to work alone, and is almost too passive when it comes to important things…like his job (pretty important to monitor alien activity right?).
Eventually, though, we think his interaction with Agent M (especially at the halfway point of the film) breaks him from his life of low values. The audience finally gets to see Hemsworth’s character actually trying and realizing that he needs to shape up if he wants to save the world. By the end, Agent H sort of rediscovers his old self and is actually made as the probationary leader of the Men In Black’s London division!
Tessa Thompson as Agent M
Tessa Thompson also departs from her character as the Valkyrie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and takes on the role of Agent H’s partner for this film as Agent M. At first, we see her as a young Molly in the film who witnesses a visit from a cute alien, but witness her parents being neuralyzed because they’ve admitted to the Men In Black they saw the small alien. So now she knows the truth!
Molly works hard to become Agent M as she is the one who sought out the Men In Black in the first place and succeeded. She passes the tests Agent O gives her and she is accepted as a probationary agent. Her first assignment, if you don’t know already, is obviously to go to London where she teams up with Agent H against the main plot’s antagonists. However, at the end, Agent O decides to bring her back to New York as she is no longer a probationary agent.
Liam Neeson as High T
Liam Neeson assumes the role as High T in this film, essentially the leader of the Men In Black at the London division. We see High T as himself briefly at the beginning as he fights alongside Agent H against the Hive. However, the audience does not know that throughout the rest of the film, he is a Hive alien assuming the shape of the original High T. We can assume that one of his missions was to retrieve the destructive weapon that is powered by a miniaturized Blue Giant Star that everyone in this film is either after or is trying to protect. In the end, the Hive impersonating High T is ultimately killed by Agent M and the huge and more-than-deadly weapon.
Emma Thompson as Agent O
Emma Thompson returns from Men In Black 3 as Agent O again. She is featured at the beginning and end of the film. We think it was a nice touch to have her in this film as there needed to be some sort of connection with the original trilogy (although we at times discussed that maybe there should have been more). She recruits Molly as agent M, although Molly had to do some convincing. She is pleased with her work with Agent H at the end of the film, but does not keep her in London as the audience may expect. Instead, Agent O orders Agent M back to the New York branch of the Men In Black.
New Men in Black: International Aliens and Creatures (Men In Black International Cast Continued…)
Pawny is voiced by Kumail Nanjiani. The audience of the film really doesn’t get the name of Pawny’s race, only that they have a hierarchy similar to chess pieces ? – (the queen, the pawns, etc). In any case, unfortunately his queen and his fellow aliens are murdered by The Twins and he is the lone survivor.
He definitely adds a good portion of the comedy to the film. He pledges his loyalty and allegiance to Agent M as he believes her to be of great stature since that is what Pawns do (their purpose is to serve and protect). His banter though with Agent H is probably one of the best comedic components we get in this film as he says that he “hates” Agent H at least 2 times during this film.
Kayvan Novak (along with certain effects added) voices Vungus who is not only a large alien introduced in this film, but also a member of the Jababian? Royal Family. While he requests Agent H to go out with what seems to be an innocent night out on the town, his real purpose there was to warn that Men In Black is in danger and to hand off the weapon powered by the miniaturized blue giant star. Apparently these aliens can “practically read minds” as Agent M states at one point. This isn’t far from what we see as Vungus was originally going to give the weapon to Agent H, but since he is struggling whit who he is and has “changed,” Vungus ends up giving the weapon to Agent M instead. Unfortunately, he is murdered by the Twins and dies after giving Agent M the weapon.
The Twins (The Diads?)
Played by Laurent and Larry Bourgeois, the twins we think are called the Diads? Or something along those lines. We honestly missed it exactly as I think their alien species name is only mentioned once or twice. But we actually think as the audience that their bodies have been taken over by the Hive and being used to try to obtain the weapon the story revolves around. If you didn’t know, these actors are actually more so dancers in real life, performing with Beyonce regularly. In any case, in the end it is found out that these two were not being controlled by the Hive and actually wanted the weapon to use against the Hive. They are eventually surrounded by the Men In Black towards the end and killed.
The Hive is an alien race that can take the form of (it seems like) anyone or anything living from the inside out of that person. In this film’s case, Liam Neeson’s character was an alien part of the Hive the whole time (the audience doesn’t know this for sure during the film, but most can put the clues together). This particular Hive’s mission, at least one of his missions, was to retrieve the weapon and it seemed that this alien race was going to be cruel and want to destroy worlds with it, one of them being Earth. So no wonder Agent H and M need to step in and stop this particular Hive from succeeding!
Rebecca Ferguson plays an alien (we don’t get the name of her species) who has an extra arm or two as we see in her fight against Agent M. She seems to have had a previous love interest with Agent H, although he claims he didn’t know that she was an alien that pretty much ran a crime syndicate or at least aided crime syndicates. She lives on an island that is referred to as “Riza’s fortified fortress,” or as Pawny calls it, “Riza’s fortified fortress of for sure death.” She does have herself a great security system in place it seems like. In any case, she at one point gets a hold of the weapon everyone is after and tries to sell it, but she is stopped eventually and the weapon is retrieved. Partly due to Luca the terantian!
Luca (The Terrantian?)
Luca, the Terrantian? (again don’t quote us on some of these spellings of these new aliens) is the one that helps Agent M and Agent H to help escape from Riza and the reason being is that he was helped by Molly as a young child (when her parents were neuralyzed. However, he is now all grown up when he is Riza’s head henchman, but that doesn’t stop him and Molly from reconnecting their past, which ultimately leads Luca to turning on Riza.
Men in Black: International Crew
Director F. Gary Gray
The director F. Gary Gray was hired back in February 2018 for this film. His most recent film that he had completed was The Fate of the Furious. As I poke fun at Chris in the podcast episode, Gray did just come from the type of film that has a lot of action and doesn’t really focus a whole lot on plot/story and character development. While I enjoy those types of films for just the action sequences, I do agree with Chris that this film focused too much on some of the action and less on character development.
However, this doesn’t take away a few other films that I love that he’s been a part of in the past, including, but not limited to Friday, The Negotiator, The Italian Job, Law Abiding Citizen, and Straight Outta Compton.
Writers Art Marcum and Matt Holloway
We touched briefly on these writers in our podcast episode for this film by first citing other movies they’ve helped write. Really, their only successful and outstanding film they helped write was 2008’s Iron Man. After that though, Chris and I both agree they’re kind of part of the reason the Transformers franchise (Transformers: The Last Knight) and Marvel’s Punisher film (Punisher: War Zone) plummeted at the box office.
However, they may have slight redeemed themselves with this film Men In Black: International.
Men In Black: International Callbacks to the Original Trilogy
When doing a soft reboot like Men In Black: International, typically it is still tied to the original movie(s) of the franchise in some way, shape, or form. In this case, we found the following nods to the original three Men In Black franchise:
Probably the simplest callback this film had to the originals was including the character of Agent O. I think it was actually pretty smart to include her as the ensured a smoother transition since, after all, she was probably the main supporting character in Men In Black 3.
The Hot Sheets (Tabloids)
Agent K in the very first Men In Black film says that the tabloids are the preferred media to get tips on potential issues with monitoring alien activity (and that sometimes the Times gets lucky). In this film, we see Molly while trying to find the Men In Black agency, having these tabloids on her coffee table at home in hopes to learning that the secret agency actually exists.
“Don’t Touch That”
In first two films, we see both agent J and agent K touch something they aren’t supposed to (the bouncing ball and the miniaturized alien world, respectively). In this film, we see the new Agent M touch a furry little alien when first arriving to the London Men In Black branch, and then what appears to be the alien’s legs then separate and start crawling all around (babies? we weren’t too sure why something like that would happen). Despite our confusion on why this happens with this particular alien, we then hear someone randomly yell, “Hey, don’t touch that!”
Again, in the first two films we see that some celebrities that are aliens are being monitored on some sort of big screen. You may remember that some of these included Sylvester Stallone, Martha Stewart, and the late Michael Jackson. The gag continues in this film as we see Ariana Grande, Elon Musk, and Donald Glover all as aliens being monitored on a big screen in the middle of London’s MIB branch.
Original Alien Cameos
We get a couple of familiar cameos from some of the aliens we already have met in the previous films. These are quick though and include The Worm Guys and Frank the Pug (which is one of Chris Hemsworth’s favorite aliens from the original films according to an interview with him by Variety).
Original Men In Black Score
It was a good move on the studio’s part to bring back Danny Elfman for the film’s music alongside Chris Bacon. By bringing back Danny Elfman, the film had to have included the original Men In Black main theme, which is a good choice to connect to and callback to the original films.
Painting/Picture of Agents J (Jay) and K (Kay)
We see on the wall in High T’s office a painting or picture of Agents J and K battling the bug in the original film alongside one where High T and Agent H are battling The Hive (although we learn that this particular scenario never happened at the end of the film).
Men In Black: International Will Smith Cameo Missing
Chris was hopeful to get a Men In Black: International Will Smith cameo in this film, but unfortunately, that did not happen. I know I would have loved to have seen that, but was not expecting it. I think that 1) Will Smith is a bit busy these days, and 2) he really is done with the Men In Black franchise, but we shall see! Despite not having a cameo role, I will admit that it would have been another great callback and something else to connect this soft reboot to the original movies.
Men In Black: International Budget
The Men In Black: International‘s budget is estimated to have been between about $95 to $110 million. I’m actually a bit surprised they didn’t put a little more into this film as I thought they were banking on this being a big summer blockbuster hit. However, as we will soon find out, it’s probably a good idea they didn’t go any higher than this.
Men In Black: International Sequel?
A Men In Black: International sequel really depends on how well this film does in the box office. At first it didn’t seem like they were going to make their opening weekend projections of at least $100 million, but it turns out they were successful in reaching that particular goal. However, Chris and I think they need to make up about three times their budget before greenlighting a sequel.
If a sequel were to happen, Chris and I discussed that changes need to be made. One of the gripes we had with this film is that there were about six action sequences (across about a 2 hour film) which means we get a scene that’s lasting at minimum 5 minutes each focused on action. We think if a sequel is going to happen, they need to forgo this many action sequences and concentrate more on a better storyline and focusing more on the character development and the relationship between the characters. In addition, Chris had a great suggestion in the podcast episode that maybe they need to bring Berry Sonnenfeld back to direct the next film to get the franchise back on track a bit.
Men In Black: International Review
Other Men In Black: International Reviews to Note
The reviews that were initially coming in for this film were not
great. The movie started off with a about a 24% rating on Rotten Tomatoes for
its opening weekend.
One review in particular we criticized too much though was the one by Michael Phillips
of the Chicago Tribune. He said something along the lines of this movie is decent and
better than Men In Black 2 and Men In Black 3. Well we definitely disagree with him
in regards to it being better than Men In Black 3 as we may even argue the third film
being right up there with the the first one!
Force Fed Sci-Fi’s Men In Black: International Review
Here at Force Fed Sci-Fi, Chris and I just slightly differ with our opinions on our Men In Black: International review. We do need to remind our listeners and visitors that when we review a film that has just been recently released, our regular scale changes slightly and that our level of “Would Host Viewing Party” is replace by “Would Go See Again In The Movie Theater.” Now we do agree that this film does not reach our highest rating.
My feelings on this film did change when I went back and saw it again for a second time to help prepare for the podcast episode and these show notes. At first I was at a “Would Watch” rating, but I went back a second time and appreciated the film a bit more. I think what audiences have to say to themselves before going into it is that Men In Black: International is not going to be like the first three films. We have new main characters and that’s a big difference. I also don’t think they wanted to rehash the first three films either and wanted to go in a different direction. I did have more of an appreciation for the story that was told the second time around seeing it as it was something new! Therefore, I think I “Would Own” once this film comes out for a home release, but I may wait until the price drops after a year or so as I do think it would be worth buying at first (at minimum $20 where I live) on its initial home release.
Chris on the other hand, maintains that this film remains at a “Would Watch” level. He doesn’t think that this is the worst sequel ever made and I agree with him, there are some pretty atrocious sequels/reboots/soft reboots out there. However, he did say that if he is watching a marathon of these films, he would have to fit Men In Black: International in there as well just for a bit more continuity.
Well there you have it folks! Our thoughts on the new Men In Black: International film. Make sure to check out the whole episode and be sure to subscribe to the podcast! In addition, check out the episode to hear our discussions on our red shirt of the film as well as Chris’ lens flare (which may or may not involve a nod to Hemsworth’s Thor character).
If you are still interested in seeing Men In Black: International, check out the trailer below and get excited!
What do you think of this soft reboot for the Men In Black franchise? Do you think it’ll make enough in order to greenlight a sequel? What did you think of the Agent H and Agent M in this film? Leave your comments and questions below!