Sometimes when a popular franchise gets a sequel after a long hiatus, the original actors may not be as interested in playing the same characters. That’s why you either recast new actors or make up new characters. Neither of these methods work, BTW, they seem to only make people yell like crazy something about their childhood being ruined. But let’s disregard the opinion of those whiners for a bit and take a look at a real example – “Men in Black: International”.
Was it a good idea to make this sidequel (like a side-sequel) without Will Smith and/or Tommy Lee Jones? Which team did a better job at entertaining the viewers? And, most importantly, does the MiB franchise still hold up? Let’s try to find out!
1) Old VS New
Straight to the point: is the new duo more fun to watch? The answer is … it’s complicated. You see, Smith and Jones had their own thing going on, the “old pro and a rookie”, let’s call it. Almost all of the chemistry and most of the jokes were based on that one dichotomy. What about Thor and Valkyrie? This is where it gets tricky. Both of their characters are goofy. One’s a semi-serious newbie and the other one’s Chris Hemsworth playing himself, basically. Who am I to say which is better?
2) The Main Villain
We can’t compare the partners, without looking at the Big Baddies. The previous MiB movies have a distinct advantage here, as there were three movies, so let’s go with the first one – The Roach vs The Twins (but also Liam Neeson’s agent T and the Hive). The Roach was definitely one of the grossest things I’ve seen in a non-R-rated movie, he… it had uncanny personality and physical quirks, which made it memorable. The new threat, in my opinion, was much more forgettable. So much so that I forgot what that “end boss” was called. Yes, a misdirect with the Twins going after H and M was a nice touch, but we didn’t get to spend any time with agent T or, actually, the Hive in T’s body.
3) The Action
Let’s not beat around the bush. MiB is not some high-brow art-house project. It’s a classic summer blockbuster, excellent for switching your brain off and just relaxing for two hours, watching things explode. In this category I don’t think the classic MiB movies can stand up to the sidequel. Why? Because the adventures of Chris and Tessa take them all over the globe – Paris, Morocco, London etc., instead of showing us only the good old New York. More is certainly better when it comes to MiB!
4) The Gear
To be honest, the only MiB gadgets that immediately come to my mind are the Neuralyzer, the Noisy Cricket, and the MiB-mobile with it’s big shiny “Press Me” button. Two out of these three were in both iterations of the franchise, so is there something more memorable in the new movie than the Cricket? It’s hard to say, as I’m fresh out of the theater writing this, but I really liked the hover bike and the main McGuffin of the movie -the Big Planet-Destroying Gun! Will I remember them in a year or five? Probably not. So what’s the final verdict?
5) The Final Verdict
Taking a closer look at both teams and their enemies, it becomes quite clear that we’re talking about two totally different approaches. It would be like comparing the Avengers and the X-Men (comic book versions) – they’re both kinda similar, but have enough distinctive properties to make them feel different. If you like J+K more – that’s fine, as is liking H+M. Just don’t go about screaming that the new movie ruined your childhood, because all you have to do is watch those classic MIB movies.
What are your thoughts on the Men in Black franchise? Let us know in the comments!