Men in Black: International

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In this Men in Black spin-off, new agent M arrives at the MIB London headquarters and teams up with senior agent H to find a mole in the organization and stop an alien being from destroying all life on Earth.

The Men in Black movies have been very unique and enjoyable in the past, with moments that many generations can remember or quote — so it’s a shame this new installment is just pretty standard. It’s a movie we’ve seen god knows how many times — two agents/cops have to get along and fight bad a guy, but turns out it’s not who it seems. One golden aspect of the MIB films is the main duo, agents J and K, so they really needed to nail that without Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones around. Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson are the saving grace of the film and play off each other well, like they have in the past as a lovable duo in Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Endgame. Thompson especially delivers a great performance as the rookie agent discovering a huge world of extraterrestrial friends and foes. Kumail Nanjiani is also clearly having fun voicing an alien named Pawny, because… well, he’s a pawn. Get it? But the thing about cast members like Hemsworth and Liam Neeson are that they basically play the same types of characters we’ve already seen them play — give Agent H a magical axe and I would’ve certainly thought he was Thor. Some of the exposition gets uninteresting and the villain does nothing for the film, and barely any of the humor lands, whatever does was already shown in the trailer. Also, this is an action movie, and while the action here will keep most viewers in their seats, that’s just about the best compliment I can give it. I found the action to be dull and boring and it feels too much like the other films — or any action film, in that matter — to be praised, but most viewers will find it not bad enough to at least sit down in front of. The visuals are sometimes serviceable but there are even moments when the green screen and set design seem too obvious and stand out in a bad way. There’s also a huge plot twist in the final act that, well, I saw coming before the movie even began. The final battle is the most boring part and the ending is also very silly. I don’t know if they’re planning on making more of these films, but they should get new writers and directors, and also the original titular duo, on board to make it better.

Men in Black: International hits all the familiar notes, and you won’t really remember it after watching it. It has an enjoyable cast and some moments the general audience will enjoy if you’re looking for a light-hearted action film, but if that doesn’t necessarily mean a good film in your books, then you should just give it a go.

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Avengers: Age of Ultron

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When Tony Stark jumpstarts a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as they battle to save the planet from destruction at the hands of the villainous Ultron.

Avengers: Age of Ultron hits you with everything you expect from a blockbuster superhero movie. The cast are all lovable, not to mention their high sense of humor. I felt that the most amazing job came from James Spader, who uses only voice to fantastically portray the menacing A.I. trying to bring “peace” to the world by replacing humanity with robots as the dominant species on the face of the Earth. Ultron is the best Marvel villain yet, as he is unpredictable, and even feels human in the flesh. Newcomers Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen do a decent job. They don’t play a huge role in the film, and I was slightly disappointed by them, as I expected more from them. Another thing I liked about the cast is that each Avenger is humanized, and given a reason to care for. For example, Hawkeye in no longer “that cool guy with the bow and arrow”, he now also feels to the audience like a real person, with a family and a reason to fight. All the main actors are at their best, and I love the new character of Vision, I can’t wait to see what the filmmakers do with him next.

Now, about behind the camera. I felt that writer/director Joss Whedon put such great effort into the film, from it’s cinematography, its stunning visual effects, its boldly hilarious script, and its fantastic cast, to its brilliant storyline. Unfortunately, Whedon won’t be returning to direct the third and fourth Avengers films, but this is definitely a milestone in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Recently, there have been two concepts constantly being used brilliantly (and in various ways) in contemporary sci-fi film: Time Travel and Artificial Intelligence. Last year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past showed us the best of modern time travel (not as a film, but as the concept being used in the movie), Avengers: AOU does exactly that with A.I. The ending is a great setup to Phase Three. I can’t wait to see what Marvel has for us next!

Overall, Avengers: Age of Ultron is a must-go for all fans of Marvel’s work! It has a stellar cast, a great sense of humor, and is a very entertaining time at the movies!

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