KENDRA SITTON | Uptown News
The reboot of the “Men in Black” franchise may not include the dynamic pairing of Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, but it still managed to keep the same goofy tone as a secretive agency takes on alien invaders.
This film was helmed by Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thomspon, who last starred together in “Avengers: End Game” and “Thor: Ragnarok.” Kumail Nanjiani gave a hilarious vocal performance as Pawny, the cute and funny alien sidekick that has now become a feature of recent space movies like “Star Wars” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
To get the Hollywood heavy hitters to reboot a franchise at the peak of their careers, you would assume the original script was spectacular to draw them in. According to The Hollywood Reporter (THR), the process of filming the movie was so mired with infighting and rewrites, the finished product looked nothing the original screenplay by Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, which had an edgier take on current immigration issues and a completely different villain.
Producer Walter Parkes, who was involved in making the original movies, was rewriting the script each day during filming — to the point that the crew became confused about which set of pages was correct, according to THR. They also reported Director F. Gary Gray tried to exit the movie during this process and was only convinced to stay by Sony Executives. Things got so bad Hemsworth and Thompson each hired their own writers to ensure their dialogue was consistent throughout the film.
For the final cut to be generated from the long-term conflict between a director and producer, the plot is surprisingly cohesive and even predictable. The cutting dialogue between the three co-stars is often funny as Hemsworth continues to demonstrate his comedy chops even as his character’s storyline was a bit muddled and underdeveloped.
The campy film was a pleasant continuation of the familiar franchise. The fact that Parkes’ final cut was chosen over Gray’s makes sense as the movie audiences saw in theaters had the same feel as the originals. No risks were taken other than the risk of putting out something that never strived to be great or modern or even necessary. As one Sony executive told THR, “the movie needed a greater reason to be.”
“MIB: International” could have been so much more. What remains is enjoyable but leaves a taste of dissatisfaction.
Kendra Sitton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.