Men in Black: International Parent Guide
It's devastatingly dull, astoundingly unoriginal, and generally pointless, but at least it isn't offensive. Whew.
Parent Movie Review
Ever since she saw her parents get memory-wiped by the Men in Black as a child, Molly (Tessa Thompson) has been searching for the shadowy organization that regulates alien activity on Earth. Once she finds them and joins up, she realizes that things are far more dangerous than she realized. Now codenamed Agent M, she teams up with Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) to find a mole deep in Men in Black’s London office.
I can understand why producers thought this reboot of the Men in Black franchise would do well. Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson had amazing chemistry in Thor: Ragnarok, and clearly the studio thought they could replicate it here. Unfortunately, the reason Ragnarok was so funny and endearing was because it was well directed and the writing supported the chemistry between Hemsworth’s and Thompson’s characters. This film…doesn’t. The dialogue is ether flat, bland, or weird, and the characters never develop beyond the cardboard cutouts you see in the theatre lobby.
The writing doesn’t help the plot either. I may see a lot of movies, but it’s a really bad sign if I can accurately predict the entire plot of the movie in the first ten minutes. It’s so formulaic I actually started second guessing myself at one point, thinking “Surely, no one is unironically following this tired premise so faithfully. There must be a twist coming!” Tragically, there wasn’t. The movie just plods along down the familiar path with no new twists, turns, or anything to spice up the bland monotony of it all. This kills the pacing. Men in Black: International clocks in at just under two hours, but it feels longer than Avengers:Endgame, which hovers precariously over the three-hour mark.
If they can stand the boredom, parents will find a few other issues to be concerned about. Surprisingly for a movie about fighting aliens, the violence is less graphic (featuring fewer goopy alien entrails) than previous entries in the franchise. The profanity is also milder. The sexual content isn’t graphic, but it is uncomfortable. Both instances of notable sexual language or behavior are in coercive situations, and the coercive nature of those actions is never discussed or addressed in any meaningful way.
For the most part though, this is a harmless popcorn flick. It may be devastatingly dull, astoundingly unoriginal, and generally pointless, but it isn’t outright offensive. There are just much better ways to spend your time. Like, say, watching the original Men in Black movie and having a nice time. Just as an example.Directed by F. Gary Gray. Starring Chris Hemsworth, Emma Thompson, Tessa Thompson. Running time: 114 minutes. Theatrical release June 14, 2019. Updated June 17, 2019
Watch the trailer for Men in Black: International
Men in Black: International
Rating & Content Info
Why is Men in Black: International rated PG-13? Men in Black: International is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sci-fi action, some language and suggestive material.
Violence: An individual is blasted through a wall but appears unharmed. There is a bar fight, which includes people being punched, kicked, and thrown into furniture. Three different people are bitten by a snake. Two people are killed and turned into goo. An individual is killed by an explosion. A number of bodies are seen. An individual is shot. A prolonged fistfight occurs. Several people fight a large alien, which they shoot at, and which chokes, hits, and throws them about.
Sexual Content: An individual bargains sex for an antidote. There are references to the “pimping” of a female character for political gain. A main character is shown getting out of bed next to an alien. There is no nudity or sexual activity.
Profanity: Three uses of moderate profanity, another three uses of mild profanity, and infrequent use of terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Individuals are shown drinking socially. Several characters are shown drinking in a nightclub.
Page last updated June 17, 2019
Men in Black: International Parents' Guide
Agent M has been single-mindedly tracking the Men in Black for twenty years. What do you think she has sacrificed to reach her goal? Do you think it was worth it? In working for the MiB, she will have to sacrifice more. Do you think that will be worth it as well? Do you think she would feel the same?
Agent H struggles with personal change throughout the film. How do you think he comes to terms with his shortcomings? To what extent do you think he is a victim of circumstance, and to what extent is he responsible for his own failings?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game examines an Earth so traumatized by alien invasions that its leaders will do anything to protect the planet – even putting children in Battle School.
The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham tells the story of a small English village, forever changed by invading aliens. All women of childbearing age become pregnant and deliver children who look human but have disturbing abilities.
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The first Men in Black film is a favorite of mine. It’s goofy and funny and very stupid, all of which are endearing in a quirky little sci-fi action film. The sequels get progressively less fun with each iteration but are largely still watchable.
Arrival takes a radically different approach to humanity’s first contact with extraterrestrial life, and centers on the difficulties of communicating with aliens.