Does anyone have more visible fun on camera than Tessa Thompson? She has that strut, and that smirk, and that presence, and when the movie is fun, she makes it FUN. The latest film to have Tessa Thompson swaggering all over the place is Men in Black: International, the sequel/spin-off to the Will Smith franchise which now stars Thompson and Chris Hemsworth. The first trailer is out and it looks fun, especially with Thompson strutting around, smirking at people. I loved MiB as a kid, and this trailer strikes me as reaching out primarily to that audience. Like I don’t think this is for adults who liked MiB as kids, I think this is for actual kids. Which doesn’t mean it looks bad, it just means I think this is, first and foremost, a kids’ movie.
There is really no information about what is happening, except that Thompson’s “Agent M” has found the MiB and becomes an agent, and is partnered with a hot-shot (Hemsworth), who has maybe seen better days. Not a bad set up. There are cool cars and space gadgets and those rude little office aliens, and then at the end there is a bit with a hammer and Hemsworth, just in case anyone forgot he is Thor. The best parts of the trailer are Thompson and Hemsworth, who truly seem to delight in working together, and that palpable enjoyment transmits on screen. It’s largely why this trailer is so fun. SHE is fun, and HE is fun, and THEY are clearly having fun, so we are having, too. Honestly, getting that alchemy right is half the challenge of making a movie like this, so MiB: International is at least halfway home already.
I just wonder if the grown-ups in the room will be okay letting kids have this one. So much of entertainment, even stuff that is ostensibly for kids, like comic books, has been hijacked by and geared toward adults over the last twenty years. Even children’s animation has to have something “for the adults”. But not everything has to be for adults! Sometimes I wonder if half the reason kids are so into YouTube is because every other corner of entertainment has been taken over by their parents, but at least on YouTube they can build their own culture. Mikey from the Goonies declared, “It’s our time, down here!” Well, we adults have taken “down here” and everything else, so I hope MiB: International is actually for kids—because if it isn’t and it comes across that way, uh oh—and I hope kids love this new one as much as kid-me loved the original. It’s a great story for the X-Files obsessed, everything is aliens, my-teacher-is-a-secret-robot oddball kids out there. Let them have this one. Let it be their time.