MIB: International is a “Golden Fleece” story. Star Wars and Back to the Future, were also Golden Fleece stories. This story takes a Hero on a journey to find something—only to find himself, instead. He may or may not also find “the thing,” but the greater treasure will be found within himself.
Logline: The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization.
Movie Genre: “Golden Fleece”
ACT 1 – The “thesis” world, or “things as they are.”
1. Opening Image: A “before” snapshot of your hero and their world.
MIB arrive in Paris to defeat the Hive.
Agent H, three times talks to the lovers about the proposal, showing he’s a sucker for love.
Agent H gets knocked outside of the Tower, but he doesn’t give up, he fights his way back to the top, showing he’s a hero.
Agent T doesn’t try to rescue or help Agent H
2. Theme Stated: A statement made by a character (usually not the hero) that hints at what the hero’s arc will be—the life lesson he must learn or discover before the end of the book.
“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.” – Agent T
This theme is repeated three more times throughout the movie.
3. Setup: A view of what the hero’s life as it currently is, including what’s missing from his life. Here we meet the supporting characters and learn the hero’s primary goal. In addition to the theme, we see why the hero is reluctant to change and what the stakes are should the hero not change.
As a girl, Molly helps an alien avoid being captured by the MIB. She watches the MIB neutralize her parents.
Molly applies to every government division
She’s brilliant and qualified, but no one admits to knowing about the MIB
She’s working in tech support
She’s tracking UFO’s on her own – and records one
She heads out to the landing spot on her own
She’s able to catch the MIB in action and has her cabbie follow them to their secret headquarters
4. Catalyst: An inciting incident or life-changing event. This is an “action” beat that forces the hero to leave behind the world of the setup and move forward into the unknown.
Molly gets into the secret headquarters
5. Debate: A reaction sequence in which the hero debates what they will do next. The purpose of this beat is to show the hero’s reluctance to change.
Molly has to convince them not to nueralize her
She found them
Looks good in black
Because she has absolutely no life whatsoever
She’s perfect for the job because she can walk away from everything
What’s most important to her is to find out the “truth of everything”
She scores really well on all qualifying algorithms
She’s outfitted with all the MIB accouterments
She learns the rules
Agent H is gambling, drinking and fooling around with the seedy underbelly.
ACT 2 – The “antithesis” or “upside down” world.
6. Break into 2: The moment the hero decides to accept the call to action, leave their comfort zone and move forward into a new world or new way of thinking. This is also an action beat that requires a purposeful choice on the part of the hero.
Molly gets onto express train (that turns into a spaceship) to London
7. B Story: The introduction of a new character or characters who ultimately help the hero learn the theme. This could be a love interest, sidekick, nemesis, etc.
Molly sees Agent H in literal slow motion
Agent M thinks Agent H is the best agent in London and tricks him into letting her join him on his operation
8. Fun and Games: The hero in his new world, and he’s either loving it or hating it. This is where the adventure happens and new skills are learned.
Agent M meets all kinds of new aliens
Agent M meets High T, the leader of the London office
Agents H and M are tasked with showing an alien royal, Vungus, a good time
Mercenaries try to kill Bungus
Vungus plans to give the superweapon to Agent H, but realizes he doesn’t trust him anymore
Vungus gives the weapon to Agent M, instead
9. Midpoint: Literally the middle of the novel, where the Fun and Games culminates in either a false victory or false defeat. Suddenly the stakes are raised and the clock starts ticking down…
There’s a mole in the Agency and the Hive are coming for the weapon Vungus had.
10. Bad Guys Close In: If the Midpoint was a false victory, this section will be a downward path for the hero and things get progressively worse. If a false defeat, things start to look up—except the hero’s deep-rooted flaws (internal bad guys) are closing in.
Agent C discovers Agent M is lying about whether or not Vungus said anything or gave her anything
The Diads, assassins are right behind them, coming for the weapon
We learn that Agent H might be working with an alien crime syndicate
Agent C is certain Agent H is their mole, and the MIB go on the hunt for Agents M & H
11. All is Lost (75%): The lowest point of the novel. Another action beat where something happens to the hero that combined with her internal bad guys, pushes the hero to rock bottom.
Agents M and H and Steve are stranded in the desert—a symbol of death
The weapon is stolen by someone they thought he could trust
Agent M realizes that Agent H isn’t the hero she thought he was
12. Dark Night of the Soul (75 – 80%): A reaction beat where the hero takes time to process everything that’s happened so far. The hero should be worse off than at the start of the novel and this is their “dark hour before the dawn” when the hero figures out the solution to their big problem and learns the theme/life lesson.
Agent H admits he fell in love with Riza and his loyalties because confused between the two worlds
He says they need to go to Riza’s stronghold and confront the woman who broke his heart.
ACT 3 – the “synthesis” world where Act 1 and Act 2 meet, combine, and create something new.
13. Break into 3: The “aha!” moment. The hero realizes what they have to do to not only fix all the problems created in Act 2, but also to fix themselves.
Agent M and Agent H approach Riza’s island on a boat. Agent H comes with a gift, saying he’s there to apologize.
14. Finale (80 – 99%): The hero proves they have learned the lesson and enacts the plan they came up with in Break into 3. Bad guys are destroyed, flaws are conquered. Not only is the hero’s world saved, but it’s a better place than it was before. a. Gather the Team Agent M, Agent H, and Steve infiltrate the fortress.
b. Execute the Plan They’re plan doesn’t work, and they survive only because Riza’s right-hand man is the creature Molly saved when she was a girl, and he returns the favor.
They barely make it out of there alive – and the MIB save them.
c. Hightower Surprise High T is the mole and has stolen the weapon
d. Dig Down Deep They’ll give it all they’ve got but it’s still not going to be enough.
i. Execute New Plan Agent M is pulled into a wormhole where she shoots High T with the weapon and the Hive is destroyed.
15. Final Image: A mirror to the Opening Image, this is the “after” snapshot of who the hero is after going through this epic and satisfying transformation.
Back in Paris, Agent H saves the world—for real this time.