Over 75 reviews for Men in Black: International were called out for using neuralyzer jokes. Ever since Men in Black made its debut back in 1997, the concept of a neuralyzer has been a prominent aspect of the Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones sci-fi comedy franchise.
A key tool for the secret government agents known as the Men in Black, the slim, pocket-sized neuralyzer is used to scrub the memories of people who have witnessed things they shouldn’t - in this case, extra-terrestrial encounters. Over the course of the franchise, the neuralyzer has become to Men in Black what a lightsaber is to Star Wars, although the top secret device is nowhere near as instantly recognizable to those unfamiliar with the four Men in Black films. And, with the latest addition to the franchise, Men in Black: International, now officially in theaters, the neuralyzer is now being used to wipe out memories of alien encounters on a global level.
Perhaps a direct result of the noticeable absence of Smith and Jones, Men in Black: International's reviews so far have been consistently poor. At the moment, however, what’s really been getting some attention as of late is not the panning of the film, but the manner in which the reviews have been written. Pointed out by Twitter user @sleepyskunk, over 75 different publications reviewed the film with similar references to a neuralyzer and the need to use one in order to forget exactly how bad the film is. Below you can check out a selection of the joke that seems to be every critic’s favorite right now:
For the first time since the franchise began, Sony has made the decision to try out a new cast and expand the work of Men in Black: International beyond the United States. It’s an admirable effort, casting the likes of Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson in place of Smith and Jones, while setting the story in a variety of international locations. Unfortunately, the critics do not appear to be taken with it and have ironically utilized their own degree of forgettable material to review it. Referencing the neuralyzer is an easy thing to do, of course, mainly because it so effortlessly sums up the apparent displeasure that so many critics have experienced while watching the new film.
It’s easy to look at the lengthy list of reviews so far and conclude that critics aren’t trying. However, it’s worth remembering that journalists often don’t have a say over the headlines that their reviews offer. Even if the content is 100 percent the result of a journalist taking a shortcut in order to review Men in Black: International, perhaps the real truth lies with the film itself and the possible reality that there really isn’t that much to say about it. This isn’t an ideal conclusion for fans of the franchise, but even the best franchises often deliver the odd clunker.