Films and entertainment are among the biggest businesses out there, with just as avid consumers as there are makers, and if you are oblivious to the sheer amount of big bucks that go into them or come out of them, well, you surely live in a completely different sphere. Notably so, Sony finds itself on the downer end of that spectrum, especially after losing out on the distribution rights of the Bond films and the upcoming ‘Bond 25’, with several of its older properties being revived including ‘Charlie’s Angels’, the ‘Jump Street’ films, the ‘Zombieland’ sequel, the new ‘Ghostbusters’ film, and finally the new ‘Bad Boys’ sequel with Will Smith that is now in the works, not to forget the few Marvel properties it still has shared rights to with Marvel studio, the latest in the offing being ‘Spider Man: Far From Home’ and last year’s ‘Venom’.
While all of them are now being brought back to help it stay afloat in the market, one of the by-products of that commercial drivel in movies is an industrialisation of sorts for films as well: a repetitive, mass production process of sorts, something that especially materialises in the summer season, also known in the movie business as the blockbuster season. The latest in the same drivel inducing exercise is a spinoff/reboot of the revered alien spy franchise that originated in the 90s and lasted well its way into the second decade of the 21st Century with its third film. To be fairly honest, I am not a fan of the franchise the way people are fans of franchises, but I have found it to be fairly entertaining almost throughout. The latest one that takes its agents International is also not half bad: except that it’s all been done before. Here is my take on the film, what the ending of it holds and my final verdict on it. Read on.
The Ending and Twist Explained
The final twist of ‘Men In Black International’ could have been a final saving grace, had it not been for the lacklustre proceedings before it. By this time in the film, you are just happy to be led to the end by your finger if so, and in saying that I mean that even if it would have been anticlimactic, you would have accepted the end of the film to be the death of the twin shape shifting aliens just as Liam Neeson’s High T arrives, “at the right moment”. Now squarely depending on how many movies you have seen, because let me tell you again that there is absolutely nothing new here, you may or may not have seen the big twist coming.
You couldn’t have possibly thought that the always complaining, somewhat covetous of our hero and after him and always suspicious in his actions and motives could such straightforwardly be the mole in the organisation? Well, that is what the big twist is built around. So, let’s rewind our clocks a bit to the bit in Naples when the new MIB duo are able to overcome Riza (Rebecca Ferguson), H’s otherworldy smuggler girlfriend who is left to an uncertain fate on her “fortified fortress of sure death”. That was one funny bit, especially coming from Pawny, a CGI creation the size of your thumb voiced by Kumail Nanjiani who is easily the best part about this film.
The duo are flanked by the shape shifting twins who are in their true form, as one would call it, “pure energy”, having an almost cosmic figureless appearance and the ability to mould matter according to will. For the most part, you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that they are indeed the primary villains in the film. They are seemingly after the weapon that a dying Vungus handed over to M to safeguard it, which they reveal right before dissipating is actually to save their own home. The weapon draws its energy from a compressed star, and just as it sounds has the power to destroy planets altogether, conveniently packing itself into a crystal like shard. They vanish just as mysteriously they appeared in Marrakesh earlier on the film when they are zapped by just “the correct voltage” from High T who very conveniently appears to the aid of M and H.
Who is the Mole in MIB?
Back at the London headquarters, with the weapon in the organisation’s possession and celebrations rife, the “something’s not right” feeling hits both M and H who draw that the twins were infact wrongly identified as threats by the MIB, and that someone may be behind it just as they discovered that the alien species they were falsely labelled as are nowhere to be found on the MIB’s database, having deliberately been erased. Since only High T had the clearance to do that, their suspicion immediately points to the obvious. They also deduce that the Alien twins sought the weapon to destroy the hive themselves after it had presumably taken over their home planet.
At this point, C (Rafe Spall) joins in their suspicion as well and points them to Paris. As they reach tthe observation deck of the Eiffel Tower, they find their suspicion to be true. The weapon is in High T’s possession who is indeed revealed to be the mole in the organisation. The revelations don’t end here. It is also revealed that High T is actually a large tentacle-d alien that had stayed in human form all these years, assuming the identity of the original High T. The alien is in turn part of the Hive itself, a fragment of it, and is able to open a wormhole/portal from the Eiffel Tower that he intends to use to wipe entire planets off with the weapon, beginning with Earth and finally bring the Hive to it through the portal. Now, to understand what actually happened to the original High T, we have to further rewind two years in the movie’s timeline, or in other words, to the beginning of the film.
Saving the World with Wits and Series 7 Atomiser Guns?
The film opens with Liam Neeson’s High T and Chris Hemsworth’s H arriving at the Eiffel Tower to respond to a breach in that sector, and just before their big confrontation with the “aliens” that is now part of legend back at the organisation, H is knocked off his feet and into the elevator shaft when he is hit by lasers, presumably from the incoming alien forces, revealed to be the Hive itself. What actually happens as he finds his way back to the deck and the two battle the alien threat to save the day isn’t actually revealed once as the scene abruptly cuts, but we do know that T who was then a field agent got promoted to the head of the London organisation owing to this event.
As for H who is cited to be “different” and “changed” after the incident, repeatedly utters that they saved the world solely with “their wits and the series 7 atomiser guns”. It is not until he blatantly keeps on repeating what happened that night and how he actually saved the world that M is able to realise the true sequence of events that conspired. The duo never defeated the Hive that day.
Presumably while H was knocked off and finding his way to the deck again, T was overpowered and absorbed by the Hive or a fragment of it, the same tentacle-d alien monster from the final bits of the film, who then assumed T’s actual identity to infiltrate the MIB organisation and bided his time as T until Vungus from the Jababian civilisation turned up on Earth with the weapon, which is revealed to be a time gap of two years. The Hive as T then obliviated H’s memory by using the Neuraliser, which is the reason for him behaving strangely different from his inspiring, leader like self. H’s transformed nature from the incident and people repeatedly reminding him of that actually may divert some of the audience into thinking, even if momentarily so, that H may be the mole after all, which is indeed a smart move. To tell you the truth, save the rest of the movie, this is actually some of the smartest and most twisty writing for the entire series of ‘Men in Black’ films. That should tell you something.
Back to the present, the alien monster summons the portal and is easily able to overpower both H and M quite easily, holding H by the throat while tossing M into the portal, where M (sort of) “sees the truth of the universe”, with the remaining part of Hive, or another fragment located on the other end of the portal, with her strongly being pulled towards it. Heroically enough, and I can’t stop gushing about him enough, Pawny comes to the rescue of the agents and saves M from the portal, drawing her back into the observation deck.
Meanwhile, H is able to appeal to the remaining part of T that remained in the monster after being absorbed by it, just as the Hive fragment on the other end reinforces it and pulls it back to its original form. This just gives M enough time to prep the weapon to full capacity, just as she fires it at the alien monster in front of the portal, in the process destroying the portal and the hive once and for all.
Well, safe to say that the aftermath of the final battle where the two agents actually got to save the world is all smiles, and quite typical if I might add, except that it doesn’t tease a single thing about the franchise’s future or the next film. With the truth about High T now out, the organisation and the London division choose to remember him as the very best of them and honour him in memory. Agent O (Emma Thompson) announces the end of the probationary period for agent M’s tenure, thus placing her as a permanent MIB agent at the New York division, where she is supposed to report to soon, departing from London.
Owing to H’s heroic actions and C’s strong recommendation, H is now made the head of the London division of MIB in T’s stead, as O recalls how T told him of agent H’s outstanding qualities as a leader that he foresaw before the events of that fateful night in Paris. A funny twist on this is that H is now head, but on probation, as snarkily remarked by O. Before the two are touted to part to their respective divisions in New York and London, M invites H to a “long drive” with Pawny till London, as M drives and Pawny quickly urges them to quickly press the red button, another one of the running jokes from the film made all the more effective by Kumail Nanjiani’s Pawny, my single greatest takeaway from the film.
Does It Have a Post Credits Scene?
While this may not be particularly remarkable, it is sure unusual and mysterious since there is no post credits scene at the end of ‘Men In Black: International’. So while you can pack up and leave after the credits start rolling (or, you know, watch them through to appreciate how much goes into assembling a film), I fathom on why this was so unusual after all, especially given that even the ending doesn’t tease any sort of sequel or setting up for the next film.
In this day and age when even a seemingly standalone movie like ‘Brightburn’ is also part of a larger shared universe that the makers wish to create, something like ‘MIB International’ that is already part of a franchise and part of Sony’s bigger efforts to revive its earlier successful properties should by default be the first film in a planned trilogy of sorts, the kind of news that usually accompanies any sequel or reboot announcement.
However, with this one, it might seem as though Sony might be doing a sort of test run. It is fully possible that the execs might themselves be unsure of the future of the franchise and the possibility of a sequel and its chances at a larger future may solely depend on the box office performance of this one. Owing to its current low critical score and dismal audience reaction, this might just prove to be the right decision after all, if this was the case in the first place. If not, Sony might just be assembling a creative team to work on the sequel regardless. To tell you the truth, despite the current outing being increasingly mediocre, it does have some things going for it that could prove to be a partly solid base-work for another outing or two. We have seen worse films develop into entire franchises after all.
‘Men In Black International’ isn’t anything groundbreaking: that much was pretty visible from the trailers and promos itself. However, every week, there is no dearth of such movies that don’t even attempt to break new ground but graze by simply by virtue of being entertaining enough. The latest offering in the alien sci-fi comedy franchise falls short on even those counts, repeatedly. There are glimmers of hope when an action set piece is just ignited, or a truly remarkable conversation or one liner seems right around the corner, before being quickly extinguished by something mediocre thrown your way, especially in case of the former.
For a summer blockbuster like this one intended to be, especially, the film is remarkably bereft of any “real” action sequences, or any memorable set pieces in general too. The CGI is well done for its budget, but everything else is simply generic. Save for a leading couple whose chemistry is one of the few good things about this film, with Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth reliving some of their best ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ moments (there is even a passing Thor joke with a hammer that was genuinely well done for hard earned laughs), a handful of sporadically memorable moments that I myself doubt I will remember following my next visit to the cinemas, and a relatively well written final act, there is little to take home here. That ofcourse does not include Pawny though, and I’d be fully behind the makers if a spinoff on him is put into action. Pawny for the win. For real.