Since JJ Abrams stepped in to revitalize the Mission: Impossible franchise with 2006’s Mission Impossible III, the franchise has been on one hell of a winning streak, not just in terms of box-office, but also in terms of sheer entertainment value. Mission: Impossible has gone from Tom Cruise’s little action franchise on the side to one of the most consistent franchises out there today.
Much of this is due to Tom’s “everything for the audience” approach, which includes the magic of seeing Tom Cruise performing increasingly insane stunt after stunt – and knowing that it’s really happening before your eyes (for the most part). Part of it is also the investment in fleshing out Ethan Hunt as a character and solidifying a cast around him that the audience cares about and can invest in movie after movie. Part of it is also the excellent cadre of directors that have helmed the films, giving each subsequent film a sleeker look and bigger feel than the last, without decreasing in quality.
Shockingly, we’re at the doorstep of Mission: Impossible 6 and those statements are still true. In Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, director Christopher McQuarrie created a bit of a greatest hits of the Mission franchise to-date. I enjoyed his take, but it didn’t quite feel like he left his own stamp on the franchise. This may be why he returned for the sixth installment (the first director to return for a second go-round in the Mission Franchise), Mission: Impossible – Fallout, which maintains the greatest hits elements, but takes everything to the Nth degree, especially in terms of action, this time around. This results in the most outrageously fun, technically fascinating, and downright entertaining Mission yet.
I had high hopes for Mission: Impossible – Fallout, but, somehow, all expectations were exceeded. The technical wizardry on display in terms of direction, cinematography, and stunts are simply exquisite here – no weak links in the bunch.
McQuarrie has clearly established more directorial confidence since Rogue Nation, as Fallout bests its predecessor in every category. The character beats, while not the focus of the film, work well enough to progress many of the characters forward, especially our beloved Ethan Hunt, himself. This is partially thanks to Cruise’s mastery of his craft, but also the returning characters giving him more depth to draw from and play off of. That’s the little secret of franchises that get this far, there’s a lot of previous character development that ripe for even richer development – and McQuarrie takes full advantage of the previous entries and what they can bring to his film.
While I’m not much for plot overviews, for the sake of the people that need at least something, Mission: Impossible – Fallout follows IMF agent, Ethan Hunt and his team on another quest to stop another terrorist plot with potential worldwide and extremely personal ramifications. For the first time in the franchise, the villain from the previous film, Sean Harris’ anti-Ethan, Solomon Lane, returns to make things even more difficult and emotional for Hunt & co.
Speaking of “& co,” the returning cast members include Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson, Alec Baldwin, and Michelle Monaghan – all of which manage to make their characters shine in ways previously unseen in the franchise. New additions, Henry Cavill, Angela Bassett, & Vanessa Kirby also manage to steal the screen from time to time as well, especially Cavill, who makes a great case for him becoming the next Bond.
And that’s what makes Fallout so astounding to behold – while it has all of the action beats (and then some) of the previous entries, it also manages to push the narrative forward and give room for characters to shine amidst the chaos. Yes, the stunts are bigger and more intricate than ever, but so are the characters. Usually, in big franchises, one is shortchanged in favor of the other. While I feel we could still use a little more background on the newest villain in the franchise, who will remain nameless, I’m still very happy with what the film accomplishes overall – it’s first and foremost a thrill ride, but it has great heart.
What more could you want out of a Mission: Impossible movie, people? Your mission, should you choose to accept it – See this movie in theaters. It’s worth the price of ad-MISSION!
Set two years after Rogue Nation, Mission: Impossible – Fallout follows Ethan Hunt and his IMF team in a race against time after a mission gone very, very wrong.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout is now playing in theaters!