In terms of nothing but pure entertainment value, Barry Sonnenfeld’s Men in Black has to be regarded as one of the best summer blockbusters ever made. The high concept, script, visual effects and pacing are all top quality, but the real ingredient to the movie’s success was the chemistry between Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.
The mismatched odd couple instantly established themselves as one of the all-time great buddy cop duos, and as we discovered in the two subpar sequels, their dynamic could just about paper over the cracks of an otherwise hugely disappointing final product. Naturally, there was skepticism when it was first announced the franchise was set to continue without the two leads, but Men in Black: International did have the benefit of Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, who played off each other to great effect in Thor: Ragnarok.
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The spinoff endured a tortured production that saw director F. Gary Gray try to quit more than once, while the script was in an almost constant state of revision. Hemsworth and Thompson did the best they could, but Men in Black: International quickly and deservedly gained a reputation as the worst installment in the series yet when it arrived in the summer of 2019, where it also bombed at the box office for good measure after making just under $254 million on a budget said to be hovering around the $120 million mark.
However, because effects-driven fantasy appears to have replaced the mid-budget action thriller as the genre of choice for Netflix subscribers, Men in Black: International is currently rising up the global most-watched movies chart at a rapid pace, and could even crack the Top 10 in the coming days.