The plot of Men in Black: International reminds you of many Hollywood buddy-cop films with two mismatched partners working together for a mission; It would have been better had the conclusion in Dark Phoenix been more comprehensive than it actually was.
Men In Black: International***
*ing: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Kumail Nanjiani, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson
Directed by F. Gary Gray
The formulaic Men In Black: International follows in 2019 what would have been ideal 20 years ago where pairing two actors from a different movie was considered cool and continued a franchise with new faces. It would have been an impeccable release and using the ‘Neuralyzer’ was a kid’s dream.
In 2019, it looks good only to those who are die-hard fans of Men In Black franchise because things have changed ‘too fast and too furious’ for cinegoers.
The film’s central character is played by Molly (Tessa Thompson) who wants to be a part of Men In Black because of an incident in her youth that changed her life.
After impressing all, she manages to find a partner in the inept Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) who isn’t the agent he used to be when he partnered with his current boss High T (Liam Neeson) a few years back.
Despite failing in many missions, Agent H and Agent M (that’s M for Molly) join forces for a mission that leads them to the ‘mole’ in the agency, allowing them to use some of the bombastic alien gadgets on earth. With Pawny (Kumail Nanjiani) providing the voice of a tiny alien, you are certainly in for some laughter.
The plot of Men In Black: International reminds you of many Hollywood blockbusters buddy-cop films where two mismatched partners are stuck together for a mission. Then there are the villains who remind you of ‘The Twins’ from The Matrix: Reloaded, a car that somehow looks like DeLorean from Back To The Future and so forth.
Emma Thompson’s character links the third and fourth film in the franchise together but it would have been great had Will Smith or Tommy Lee Jones had made a cameo in the film if only to connect the two movies in a much better way.
The last time Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth shared the screen together for a longer period, it created magic in Thor: Ragnarok. They didn’t have much to do in Avengers: Endgame and although they do share scenes here, their chemistry is missing. Maybe it had something to do with missing Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones or seeing them both in Men In Black avatars. But, if you think the pair set the screen on fire, think again.
Also, the script didn’t have the same maturity as the other Men In Black films and it looked more like a standalone movie ‘Made As Men In Black’ than the fourth installment in the series.
*ing: Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jessica Chastain
Directed by Simon Kinberg
Some have termed it the worst film in the X-Men universe but Dark Phoenix isn’t as bad as people perceive it to be. Yes, it is a weak film considering it was the X-Men series that helped Marvel Studios make a successful entrance into films (alongside Blade) but it is in no way a mediocre film. It is still much better than many DC Comic films that have destroyed the storyline, the characters and even hope of the fans by going overboard, or playing it safe, and dark.
Directed by Simon Kinberg, Dark Phoenix revolves around Jean Grey gone rogue due to a freak accident in space where she tries to save her team but consumes ‘dark powers’ in the process. She returns a changed person (like the Fantastic Four) and when D’Bari alien race enters the story to reclaim ‘their’ cosmic power, it confirms Professor X and his team’s suspicions. Does the Professor join hands with Magneto to fight against Jean and her new allies or try to save her from getting annihilated, watch the movie to know more.
Dark Phoenix can be termed as X-Men: The Last Stand 2.0 because the third film from the series was erased after the incidents of X-Men: Days Of Future Past. However, just as The Last Stand wasn’t well-received, neither is Dark Phoenix as Phoenix (Sophie Turner) is shown to be too powerful for the X-Men – both led by Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender). The special effects, the background score, and every actor’s performance has been hailed by the audience, but they blame the story which is deemed too weak, and somewhat repetitive. They might have a point but if you watch it as a standalone film, it’s actually very good and even impressive at times.
The problem is that X-Men fans were hoping for a better film than Dark Phoenix that gave them closure regarding their favourite characters. Unlike Logan, this film fell flat as part of X-Men franchise. Sadly, due to an inexperienced director and actors who seemed fed up of the characters they were playing for far too long, Dark Phoenix didn’t rise from the ashes the way it was expected. It did give the audience one last glimpse of their favorite actors playing their favorite characters, but it would have been better had the conclusion been more comprehensive than it actually was.
Omair Alavi is a broadcast journalist and can be contacted at [email protected]
Rating system: *Not on your life * ½ If you really must waste your time ** Hardly worth the bother ** ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only *** Good enough for a look see *** ½ Recommended viewing **** Don’t miss it **** ½ Almost perfect ***** Perfection