MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL

Cert 12A 114mins Stars 3

This big budget sci-fi action comedy sequel to Will Smith’s 1990’s blockbuster trilogy offers plenty of glossy CGI action but is surprisingly a little beige beneath the surface.

Fresh from starring in mega Marvel superhero smash, Avengers: Endgame, Chris ‘Thor’ Hemsworth and Tessa ‘Valkyrie’ Thompson step into shoes of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as galaxy defending secret agents.

They’re armed with memory altering gizmos, lots of shiny laser weapons and of course the essential black sunglasses, as they encounter lots of small, cute aliens, plenty of large, tentacled, angry ones, and those that change from one to another.

Star of the show  is the warm and watchable Tessa Thompson, who plays a computer hacker recruited by Emma Thompson’s boss of the Men In Black organisation, and given the codename, Agent M.

She’s sent to London to team with Hemsworth’s agent H, where the duo’s mission to protect an alien dignitary goes horribly wrong.

A mole is suspected in the MIB, and the most powerful weapon in the universe is being sought by a species of warmongering aliens, the Hive.

Very much written as a spy caper, it merrily riffs on the world of superspy James Bond with Hemsworth very knowingly playing the hard-drinking womaniser as comically arrogant, reckless, a bit dim and vaguely inept.

And it’s complete with glamorous international locations, flash cars, gadgets, and a beautiful femme fatale in the shape of Rebecca Ferguson’s intergalactic arms dealer. Plus Kumail Nanjiani adds a lot of humour voicing a pint-sized alien called Pawny.

F. Gary Gray directed 2017’s eighth instalment of the Fast and the Furious franchise, and despite rocketing his cast about the globe he can’t get the pace here up to a similar speed.

Will Smith’s swagger is a big miss and script should be sharper, but the natural easy chemistry of its attractive stars prevent the film from crashing to Earth.

 

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