“Men in Black: International” (M) ** and a half
THIRTEEN producers are credited with this film, the fourth under the MIB label and the first without Will Smith or Tommy Lee Jones playing its lead characters.
Of all the movie franchises disgorged from studios based on comic book heroes saving the planet from intergalactic bad guys, MIB was best at bringing comedy to the genre. This time, the enemy is within. And there are two new agents to deal with the crisis.
Chris Hemsworth plays Agent H. The role doesn’t require great acting prowess and it’s fair to say that he rises manfully to the task. The change in the MIB formula comes from his offsider, a rookie who’s wanted to join MIB since childhood. Tessa Thompson plays Molly, which is the film’s first and strongest comical element, because while she works for MIB, it’s clear that she’s not a man.
A silver-haired (wig, bleaching or age? Only she and her hairdresser know) Emma Thompson has a cameo role as Agent O from MIB top management, making no demands on her talent. Liam Neeson plays Agent High T who’s managing Agents H and M in the field. Playing Agent C, resentful that H and M have been given an assignment that he thinks he could do better, is Rafe Spall.
As Riza, a modern Circe luring men to their doom from her palatial pad on a beautiful Mediterranean islet, Rebecca Ferguson’s hair-do says much about the character.
We never see actor Kumail Nanjiani who provides the voice of Pawny, a teeny-tiny CG character who’s H and M’s main safeguard in the field, but without him, the story would be less amusing.
Estimated to have cost around $US110 million, the list of people working behind the camera on MIB4 goes on and on and on. The travails of negotiating the customary risks, excitements and dangers infesting comic book movies are leavened by the comic values that writers Matt Holloway and Art Marcum have given director F Gary Gray to play with. It’s a genuinely funny movie in both the ha-ha and the peculiar senses of that word.
At all cinemas