When a woman recruit to the MIB mission is welcomed as part of Men in Black she raises her eyebrows and the head, again a woman, guffaws; oh don’t get me started on it.
Clearly, the humour of it all is apparent. So, is the gender correct core of the fourth outing of the famous franchise? With Tessa Thompson in a meaty, shall we say meatiest, part as probationary Agent M, no questions can be asked and no doubts can be raised about its inclusiveness on the count of gender as well as a world peopled with aliens of many sort. However, intention and some frothy one liners alone do not maketh a film. Much here is hackneyed and even though it begins well, ennui soon sets in. Sure, it is peopled by the strangest creatures, aliens and all, a sample of which we get in the very start when Molly as a child saves one.
As Agent M, she may be in pursuit of ‘truth of the universe’ expect no home truths here. Technical jargon of this sci-fi from neuralisers to weapons of mass destruction takes you from one thing to another. Agent M joins the best in the force Agent H. Once more they are out to save the world from the scum of the universe. But the pursuit from Paris to London to Marrakesh is rather cold and action lukewarm. The surprise angle of a mole within the organisation is ‘oh so predictable’, you can smell it the moment the word is uttered.
Sure, animated Pawn’s (Kumail Nanjiani’s voice) presence brings comic relief. As literally the chess piece of the board this critter’s interface with Agent M makes you smile more than once. He asks her; Are you the queen…and she answers without blinking; as much as any woman is. You bet. Indeed, wit permeates a major part of the narrative. Many an interesting dialogue is cornered by Tessa Thompson too. Thompson delights as much with her act as her one-liners.
Chris Hemsworth as Agent H looks as debonair as ever but is not quite the scene stealer we are so used to seeing him. Here, with a hammer in his hand we are fleetingly reminded of his Thor avatar but his charm is nowhere close to the superhero heroics. Come to think of it, it’s Thompson who gets greater pound of action too. Then another good actor Liam Neeson is built into the plot with little impact.
Intriguingly for a 3D film, spectacles too are not awe-inspiring. The so-called ‘threat to universe’ with eyes flashing and raising the gravel on the road, do dish out a stunt or two. But the visual wizardry is not quite impressive. Except for the vehicles whizzing past at spectacular speeds, transforming into flying gadgets and more, nothing much holds your attention. By the time Rebecca Ferguson appears as Riza with multiple arms and black and white configuration by way of a hair piece, you lose complete interest in the antics which are so ‘been there seen before.’ Despite a runtime of less than two hours, it remains only sporadically engaging. Watch it if you are a diehard fan of the Men in Black series or perhaps not if you rooted for the earlier pair of Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. Our verdict; humour can’t save these men and women in black.
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