All three of the previous “Men in Black” science fiction comedy films have scored mightily at the box office. This includes the not very good “Men in Black II” as well as the spectacular “Men in Black” edition one.
The first film gave us a herd of cows on fire and the never to be forgotten phrase “... wearing an Edgar suit” to describe an alien donning the skin of an Earthling.
The new edition introduces Chris Hemsworth as Agent H and Tessa Thompson as Agent M. The leading couple have served together in a couple of the “Avengers” films as respectively the God of Thunder, Thor, and a character named Valkyrie. Thompson has a well rounded and extensive background in film and TV including recurring roles in the TV series “West World” and “Cooper” among many others.
Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson and Rebecca Ferguson also provide their talents. Fans of Rebecca Ferguson will remember her for her role as 19th century songbird Jenny Lind in the recent “The Greatest Showman.” Happily she will play the Lady Jessica in next year’s remake of “Dune.” In one of the bits that seemed over kill, Ferguson plays a dangerous but beautiful arms dealer — with an extra third arm.
F. Gary Gray has a string of hits as a director. He directed a couple of my favorites, “Be Cool” and the newer version of “The Italian Job.” He also directed the tense thriller “The Negotiator” and the massive and popular “The Fate of the Furious.”
The writing team of Matt Holloway and Art Marcum penned the script for the first “Iron Man,” which had some laugh out loud bits at the beginning of the film. They also wrote “The Punisher: War Zone,” a classic comic book based shoot’em up. As an example of the comic style of the film, the writers have named the Neeson character, the boss of the London office of the “Men in Black” High T.
Some of the bits in the film hit their marks, many of them, and some do not. For all the special effects the core of the film and its best parts come from the relationship between Agent H and Agent M. Thompson is 36. She looks a lot younger and her character is a decade younger. But her experience brings a strong and practiced talent to her role. She shows wit, wistfulness and grit as needed with a simple change of expression. Hemsworth spends most of the film in various comic situations, which he pulls off very well.
The franchise shows its age in this game, pleasant but ordinary fourth time out.
The film runs for one hour and 54 minutes. The three saw blade film carries a mild PG-13 rating. The producers spent $110 million to pack the film with entertainment value. It is fun to watch, but no more than that.