The first Men in Black starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones was released back in 1997. Some of you reading this probably weren’t even born yet. There were no smartphones, social media wasn’t even a word, and most people were still using dial up to access the internet. Will and Tommy teamed up for two more sequels, Men in Black II (2002) and Men in Black 3 (2012) before both actors decided to call it quits and hang up the suits.
Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson have now taken over as the new MIB. Chris (Agent H) is the hotshot who tackles some of the organization’s biggest cases, usually with reckless abandon. Tessa (Agent M) had an encounter with the MIB and an alien as a child and has since been trying to track down the agency ever since. She manages to locate the headquarters and convinces Emma Thompson (Agent O) to give her a chance at joining. She talks her way into aiding Agent H on an assignment which later uncovers a mole inside MIB.
As soon as the cast was announced in early 2018, the first thing everyone focused on was the fact that Chris and Tessa had just starred together in Thor: Ragnarok only 3 months prior. I’ll admit, for a second I too thought it was an odd choice to pair them together again so soon in such a big film, but honestly….so what. Are actors supposed to never work together again just because they co-starred in something previously? Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne, who were co-stars in The Matrix trilogy, reunited for John Wick (Chapter 2 & 3). Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino and other directors frequently cast the same actors who they like. I can see how it might be hard for some people to not look at the screen and see Thor and Valkyrie, especially since they just appeared in Avengers: Endgame a month ago. However, while watching this movie, I never once thought “Hey look it’s two Asgardians in black suits!”
In addition to Emma Thompson reprising her role from Men in Black 3, there are some familiar cameos that fans will recognize. The thing I liked most was that it didn’t feel like they took the brand and made a totally different version of MIB. Director F. Gary Gray deserves a lot of credit for staying true to what made the original films so enjoyable. The score, the visuals, the wacky aliens trying to hide amongst society and even the dry humor.
For those wondering where this movie fits in the MIB universe, it follows directly after the events in MiB 3 but is a set up for a new franchise. It’s PG-13 and I think people will enjoy it whether you were around in 1997 or not.