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Film / Men in Black: International

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"You really think a black suit is going to solve all of your problems?"
"We protect the earth from the scum of the universe. With agents in every major city around the world, some more decorated than others. Agent H, you’re one of the best ever to wear the suit, but you’ll need a partner."
High T

Men in Black: International is a 2019 Science Fiction action comedy, and the fourth film of the Men in Black series, directed by F. Gary Gray (Friday, Straight Outta Compton, The Fate of the Furious) and written by Art Marcum & Matt Holloway (Iron Man).

Molly Wright lived her life being aware of the existence of aliens and the Men in Black ever since avoiding neuralisation as a child. Finally landing a lead on them as an adult, she infiltrates their New York headquarters and insistently volunteers herself to be recruited into the agency. Impressed by her tenacity, Agent O recruits her under the codename "Agent M", and sends her to MIB's UK branch for probationary training. There, M assigns herself to partner with Agent H, UK's top agent who has gone soft ever since defeating an evil race of aliens known as the Hive with his former partner and current head of the UK branch, High T, three years ago. When a pair of shapeshifting aliens seeking a Weapon of Mass Destruction arrives on Earth, hinting at the return of the Hive, it is up to Agents H and M to travel the world to keep the weapon safe, find The Mole amongst their ranks, and save Earth from the impending second arrival of the Hive.

Conceived as a spinoff, it is the first film in the Men in Black series to not feature Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as Agents J and K. Replacing them as leads are Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson as Agents H and M, respectively, while Emma Thompson reprises her role as Agent O from Men in Black 3. Also in the film are Liam Neeson as the head of the UK MIB branch, High T, as well as Kumail Nanjiani, Rafe Spall, and Rebecca Ferguson.

Previews: Trailer 1.

Men in Black: International provides examples of:

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    Tropes A to F 
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Advertised Extra: Two of the characters in the poster above, Emma Thompson's Agent O (only appears in the beginning of the movie then briefly in the finale, vanishing once M goes to London) and Frank the Pug (only a brief cameo).
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese version uses a song by Yoshimotozaka46, titled "Konya wa Eeyan".
  • Arc Words: The phrase "with nothing but our wits and our Series 7 Deatomizers" constantly comes up in relation to H and High T saving the world from the Hive. It's eventually revealed that this is literally all H remembers of the event, as he was neuralyzed by the Hive-infected High T to conceal the fact that he didn't actually beat the Hive.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: M tracks an object landing on Earth, catches the MIB apprehending the occupant, then follows them to their base dressed in a black suit and pretends to be a late-arriving agent. Subverted when Frank points out how amateurish the attempt was, the guard raises an alert, and the elevator security system takes her to the basement level instead of the main lobby.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: One of the reasons M gives for becoming a MIB is that she doesn't have any personal connections and no-one will miss her if she were to just disappear one day. By the end of the film, she's become friends with H and might even be attracted to him, but the two of them have to part ways because MIB agents rarely stay in one place and go wherever they're needed.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Ariana Grande, Elon Musk, Piers Morgan, and Donald Glover are aliens. Gustave Eiffel was apparently a founding Men In Black agent.
  • BFG:
    • A series trademark returns. Agent H uses a Ray Gun that's shaped like a drum magazine Tommy Gun, and Agent M has one shaped like a minigun.
    • Possibly the biggest in the series shows up in the form of the weapon that serves as the MacGuffin for most of the film. At its lowest setting, it carves a Grand Canyon-sized crevasse into the Rub al Khali desert. It's said that it can destroy solar systems at its highest setting, and is powered by a super-compressed blue giant star.
  • Big Damn Heroes: As M is knocked into the portal and heading towards the Hive, Pawny flies in after her and uses one of his grappling guns to catch her. He then uses his other gun to pull them both out of the portal and back into the Eiffel Tower.
  • Boldly Coming: H appears to have a string of one-night stands and relationships with alien women, such as a gangster moll at the beginning of the movie.
  • Bookends: The prologue in 2016 takes place at the Eiffel Tower. The final battle later takes place there as H and M try to stop High T from destroying the world.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Agent H is referred to as "one of the best to ever wear the suit"... and he's introduced napping at his desk before getting woken up by M and going to get lunch at 9:30. He quickly proves to be a deconstruction since all of his colleagues hate him at best, his friends have abandoned him, and the only reason he keeps his job is because High T looks out for him, and even he is getting tired of cleaning up H's messes. It is implied that his tendencies were due to a Hive-infected T's neuralization of him. Also, the Hive needed to keep an eye on him.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Frank the Pug was absent from Men in Black 3. He returns here. Well, at least for a single scene.
    • The Worms also make an appearance at the subway scene, walking past M.
  • Casting Gag: Among various celebrities appearing in different countries in "It's never who you think it is" scene is Russian YouTube personality Utopia Show, who, among other things, debunks a lot of alien conspiracies on his channel. He even made a music video about The Men in Black some years prior.
  • Character Overlap: O is still the MIB Director, a role she inherited from the deceased Zed at the end of the Original Trilogy.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The alien M helped escape the MIB as a child ended up becoming Riza's bodyguard years later. After recognizing Agent M as Molly, he spares her and H while protecting them from Riza as they escape to return the favor.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: M and H are shaping up to be this to J and K, respectively.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: H is irresponsible, flighty and unprofessional due to being extensively but selectively neuralysed so that he won't realise that his old partner T has been taken over, but he's still the absolute best agent in MIB's London headquarters. He loses the Moron part by the end and he's promoted to Probationary Head of the London office.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Right before the climax, M declares she wants to drive and hops into the front left seat of H's car, since American cars have their driver seats on the left. Unfortunately for her, she's in the UK, and the British drive on the left so their driver seats are on the right.
  • Diagonal Billing: In the credits, Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson share top billing, with Hemsworth's name lower and to the left while Thompsons is higher and to the right.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: The Twins may be captured, but the case is still not solved yet.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: H is poisoned, and begging a female alien for the antidote, he promises her anything she wants. Cue him waking up in bed next to her. He doesn't seem happy, but neither he nor the film itself goes as far as to treat this as rape. However, a deleted scene shows that prior to leaving her apartment, he wrote a message to himself with her lipstick on a mirror prior to neuralizing himself that said "just walk away and don't look behind you".
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: The Twins, immune to every weapon the MIB throws at them, are suddenly blasted apart by a squad of MIB agents, which T nonchalantly Hand Waves as having just used the right voltage this time.
  • Dyson Sphere: The MacGuffin turns out to be a a star compressed inside a handheld gun that's capable of destroying solar systems.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Both M and the junior agent alien, who has some kind of ability to slow down or reverse time, which the alien uses to make the exceedingly handsome Agent H walk back and forth through the lobby. Another alien agent chastises her and she knocks it off after giggling, "Sorry! He's just so yummy!"
  • Expy: You may be excused for thinking you're watching another Sony Pictures franchise. Liam Neeson's portrayal of T as head of the London office who was the agent who saved the world at one point on a mission with H remarkably echoes that of another Badass Bureaucrat as played by Ralph Fiennes. And Chris Hemsworth's portrayal of Agent H borders at times on an blatantly unsubtle audition for another role that Hemsworth has stated he'd "love" to play.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Agent H defeated the Hive with nothing but his wits and a Series 7 Deatomizer. Except he didn't. The Hive infected T, neuralized H into believing that's what happened, and went into hiding, waiting for the right time to strike.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: The Hover Bike appropriated by Agent H has a hyperdrive that allows it to hop from Marrakesh to the Rub al Khali desert in an instant, though doing so drains the power completely.
  • Flash Step: This is how the Hive possessed Diad race moves, and it's just as creepy as it sounds. Actually, it's just how all Diads move.
  • Fly-at-the-Camera Ending: M drives the flying car at us at the end.
  • Flying Car: The Cool Car used by H and M has a Big Red Button yet again. Only this time it's not a rocket boost, it makes the car take off instead.
  • Foreshadowing: When M is watching the celebrity cameos, High T steps forward and comments "It's never who you think;" foreshadowing that he is, in fact, the mole in MIB.

    Tropes G to M 
  • Genki Girl: M is a subdued version, as while she has a tendency to act cool and collected and by the book, it's obvious she's insanely geeking out over actually being a member of the MIB.
  • Glass Smack and Slide: When the Flying Car lifts off and its rocket-boost starts, the diminutive Pawny is sent tumbling by the acceleration and ends up squashed against the glass of the rear window.
  • Good All Along: The alien twins turn out to be looking for the superweapon to destroy the Hive, not help them. It's a bit undermined by the fact that they still murdered a completely innocent man for a disguise, though. And Vungus the Ugly. And all the chesspieces aliens (aside of Pawn). All of them being apparently completely innocent and decent people/aliens. And they apparently don't care if their actions put in danger of retaliation the whole Earth for the death of Vungus. Good probably is not the most fitting word...
  • Hammerspace: H's Jaguar contains an enormous amount of BFGs that can be pulled out from implausibly tight spaces.
  • Held Gaze: Two significant moments, mere minutes apart, in the final scenes of the film. When Agent O reveals that she wants M to come back to New York and Agent H to temporarily run the London office, H and M stare at each other before M moves away to finish talking to O. Then, before she leaves, they both stare affectionately, perhaps even longingly at each other, before M walks away. Subverted in that in the next scene, M pops into his car because she wasn't quite ready to leave him yet.
  • Hellgate: The Hive turn the portal in the Eiffel Tower into one while trying to invade Earth.
  • Hover Bike: Agents H and M use one such at one point, and M has to neuralize everyone around them as they drive.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: H is at least a full foot taller than M.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Probably how the alien twins see their actions.
  • Ikea Weaponry: Agents H and M have some BFGs that have to be assembled from parts concealed in their Cool Car.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: H tries this on the mole, High T. And it shows signs of working until Hive tendrils latch onto him, fully taking control again.
  • I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin: Vungus gives it to M.
  • Impact Silhouette: When Pawny escapes the glass jar, he cuts a hole shaped like himself.
  • Impossibly-Compact Folding: The MacGuffin is a spiky bauble that can be held in one's palm, but can unfold into a powerful gun the size and weight of a microwave.
  • Irony: When Agent M first arrives in UK headquarters, she stares at an alien-monitoring screen featuring a country-based celebrity cameo (in the original US version, Ariana Grande, Elon Musk, J. J. Abrams and Donald Glover), to which High T comments "It's never who you think it is." Indeed, High T's body was already long taken over by the Hive and is now a member of the Hive masquerading as him.
  • Lady in a Power Suit: Agent M, once she joins the men in black. She even notes that the suit looks good on anyone.
  • Landmarking the Hidden Base: The Eiffel Tower is a Men In Black spaceport.
  • The Men in Black: Once again, it is about agents wearing black suits that are tasked to keep aliens who are present on Earth in check and maintain The Masquerade. Only this time it's abroad.
  • The Mole: The main crux of the story, with there being one in the UK branch of MIB. The mole is High T, who had been infected by the Hive and neuralized H into thinking he had defeated them.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Riza, H's ex who is also the most dangerous arms dealer in the galaxy, has three arms and puts up a hell of a fight against M.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Agent O's line about being "recognized only as déjà vu and dismissed just as quickly" harkens back to Zed's monologue in the first movie.
    • Also, as Agent M is being suited up in the trailer, one can see a box containing guns that appear to be an updated version of the classic Noisy Cricket.
    • In an inversion of the classic "Noisy Cricket" gag from the first movie (a tiny gun that lets out a massive blast), there's a moment in the trailer where M and H have to work together to fire a massive laser cannon... which at first lets out only a tiny little puff of smoke.
    • The movie continues the gag from the previous movies (and cartoon series) of establishing real-life famous people as being aliens. This time the celebrity aliens include Ariana Grande, Elon Musk, J. J. Abrams and Donald Glover.
    • Like in the first movie, trashy tabloids are actually telling the truth about the mysteries of the universe. Molly uses one of these to predict where an alien will land and thus find the MIB headquarters. Amusingly, the goofy-looking alien being apprehended by the MIB is identical to the cheesy illustration on that tabloid's cover.

    Tropes N to Z 
  • N.G.O. Superpower: The MIB are (or are now) based worldwide, not just in the USA, what with having headquarters in London, and also being shown to operate in Paris and Rio de Janeiro.
  • Noble Bigot with a Badge: Agent C expresses clear disdain for aliens, but is still on the good guy's side.
  • One-Winged Angel: True to Men in Black tradition, once High T is revealed to have been infected by the hive back in 2016, he sheds his human appearance and becomes a ten-foot-tall Cthulhu-esque monster.
  • Parental Substitute: T is one to H.
  • Portal Network: The Eiffel Tower is part of one that lets alien refugees come to Earth.
  • Pulling the Thread: T and H have long been asked how they beat the Hive the first time and simply reply "with nothing but our wits and Series 7 deatomizers." As they race to face the Hive, M presses H on more details than that... and H simply says the same line. It then hits him that he can't remember any details other than that, and thus he and M realized T neuralyzed him to forget what happened.
  • Put on a Bus: Downplayed, but despite the film beginning at the MIB's New York HQ, neither J or K cameo and there's no mention of their careers or status in the 6 years since their last film (barring their painting in the London Branch).
  • Red Herring: Agent C is the most obvious candidate for The Mole, being antagonistic to the heroes. In addition, many people comment on Agent H not acting like himself for some time, falsely hinting at possibly a sleeper agent issue. It's eventually revealed to be High T, the seeming Reasonable Authority Figure.
  • Retcon: The first film said that the Men in Black originated from a (presumably American) government program in the mid 1950s and the first alien arrivals were in 1961 outside New York. This film says that the first aliens arrived via a wormhole in the Eiffel Tower in the 1890s, and that Gustave Eiffel (died in 1923) was one of the first Men in Black.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: Unlike its predecessors, this film features a branch of the MIB based in London. It's also officially titled Men in Black International, suggesting a globe-trotting plot, which it lives up to by visiting Paris, Marrakesh and Naples. Other locations are briefly seen on occasion.
  • Small Girl, Big Gun: Tessa Thompson is 5ft 3 ½ tall, and her BFG is bigger than Chris Hemsworth's.
  • Soft Reboot: Though it exists in the continuity of the original trilogy, it (mostly) features an all-new cast of characters, with only Agent O, Frank the Pug and the Worms returning. A painting of Agents J and K defeating the Bug from the first movie is shown in Agent T's office.
  • Spinoff Sendoff: O's supporting role (along with the action beginning at MIB's New York HQ before shifting to Europe). Frank the Pug and the Worms also have cameos.
  • Stopped Numbering Sequels: The first Men in Black sequel to not have a number in its title. Chronologically, it's the fourth film in the franchise.
  • Tag Line: "The universe is expanding."
  • Tell Him I'm Not Speaking to Him: Agents H and M use Pawny as a third wheel while fixing the hi-tech motorcycle in the desert.
  • That Man Is Dead:
    High T: [to H] You were always like a son to me.
    M: That's not T anymore.
    T: You were always like a son to me. [Transforms into a large, tentacle-covered monster] You were always like a son to him.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: In-universe, when M is re-buttoning H's dress shirt, and again when they have their conversation in the desert about love. Meta example is that in an interview, Tessa Thompson stated that in the script, H and M were meant to come across like siblings, but she and Chris Hemsworth have such chemistry (understandable, as they are good friends in real life) that it came across like they're in love with each other while filming the movie.
  • Visual Pun: A alien wearing Nerd Glasses at the MIB Headquarters is (literally) four-eyed.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Similar to J and K from the previous films, M and H share this dynamic for the most part.
  • Weaponized Landmark: The Hive have made multiple attempts to turn the Eiffel Tower into a Hellgate.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Diads, who assassinate Vungus in order to steal a superweapon powerful enough to obliterate a solar system. However, it turns out that their motive was to use this weapon against the Hive, which had done far worse to their home world.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Our heroes seemed to have solved the case now that the Twins are taken care of, but then comes the reveal involving High T.
  • Zero-Approval Gambit: H invokes it when he, M, and C figure out T is the mole and is on his way to Paris to betray the organization to the Hive. H and M go off after him and H tells C to stay behind and that if they don't come back to say that he (H) was the mole because the revelation that one of the most decorated agents in MIB history was a mole would cripple the whole organization. Thankfully, the ploy didn't need to be used.

"Always remember, the universe has a way of leading you to where you're supposed to be at the moment you're supposed to be there."