The Spy Action Thriller genre is dominated by two movie franchise – James Bond and Mission Impossible. Fans have long debated which franchise takes the cake. It is time we take a look and find out.
James Bond: One Man, Many Faces
The lead character of James Bond has been played by multiple popular celebrities. Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Dalton, Roger Moore, George Lazenby, Daniel Craig, David Niven, Barry Nelson, and Johnny Walker have all played the titular hero on screen. James Bond has many faces. That is one of its strongest suits. The franchise is known to rope in the greatest celebrity of its time and then make him star as the 007. Unlike Mission Impossible movies that are solely based on the life and times of Tom Cruise, the James Bond movie does not evoke just one face. Fans of the series have their own favourite choice for James Bond. That is what makes it unique.
Mission Impossible: Cruise’s Star Power
Having one male lead star throughout the franchise’s tenure has its own perks. And it is not like Tom Cruise is any less popular than the ones that are featured in the Bond movies. If given the chance, we would go so far as to claim that Cruise has amassed enough firepower as a celebrity to put any Bond actor to shame. Cruise’s name is synonymous with Mission Impossible. His high stakes stunts and his epic globe-trotting adventures is what makes the Mission Impossible movies so engaging and worth our time. The Mission Impossible franchise has benefited greatly from starring Cruise as Hunt.
James Bond: Villains
Well the Bond movies had a head start here. But that does not excuse the fact that they have devised a better rogues’ gallery than Ethan Hunt’s. Take Skyfall for example. Raoul Silva alone has enough of the sinister X Factor than all of Mission Impossible movies combined. We are in no way discrediting the MI Movies. They have good villains but comparing them to the legacy left behind by the James Bond Villains would be just plain wrong. There is literally no competition here.
Mission Impossible: More Critically Acclaimed
It is common knowledge that the Mission Impossible movies are more critically acclaimed. They have a better story arc that does not rely on the main character’s popularity and suaveness but on an actual air-tight plot. There is better characterization. All the characters are given some form of spotlight one way or another in the series. The Bond movies tend to focus on just one character. The last few entries of Mission Impossible got a score in Metacritic ranging from 73 to 86. The last few Bond movies had a critic score between 58 and 81. Even in the Cinemascore department, Mission Impossible Movies have an edge albeit a small one.
James Bond: Legacy
Like we said, the Bond movies came way before even the idea for an MI movie was even conceived. Due to its long tenure in the small and big screens, James Bond has created history. It has many times been recognized as a national treasure of literature by American and British Film associations. It has won numerous accolades. James Bond movies have even been nominated for Oscars for the Best Cinematography, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Original Score for Skyfall. It won the Oscar for Best Cinematography. Mission Impossible movies do not boast of such a feat.
Mission Impossible: Created Its Own Niche
Spy Thrillers were a dime a dozen when the first Mission Impossible movies came decades ago. The Bond movies, even though the standards for a 007 movie had decreased to the point of absolute cringe, were reigning supreme. Tom Cruise, fresh off the boat and Hollywood’s chocolate sweetheart, was starting to foray into the genre. It was all new for Paramount, a project of such caliber. It still ended up being successful. The next few Mission Impossible franchise installments managed to create a niche within the spy thriller genre – a feat that was thought to be impossible. When you think of James Bond, you remember 007. When you think of Mission Impossible movies, you think of high altitude HALO jumps and Ethan Hunt hanging from the ceiling trying to steal an all-powerful world-ending microchip. There is a reason for that.
James Bond: Girls and Gadgets
We are not going to put a veil here. There is no objectification in mind. But we will all agree to the fact that the 007 movies has Bond Girls, an honor that only goes to a handful of extremely beautiful women worldwide. The likes of Monica Bellucci, Halle Berry, and Jane Seymour have graced the screen as Bond Girls. Mission Impossible movies do not have anything of that sort. To top it off, James Bond is only as good a spy as the gadgets he is given to play with. The Mission Impossible franchise has no such experience with signature girls and gadgets. Only a Bond movie has those things.
Mission Impossible: Aged Like Fine Wine
The Bond Movies were the gold standard of Spy Thriller Cinema. As time went on, they were at their absolute peaks. And then Die Another Day happened. Skyfall and Casino Royale with Daniel Craig as the New Bond gave us some hope. But that too waned in some time. The Bond movies like Spectre just showed how the mighty have fallen from grace. On the other hand, the Mission Impossible movies stayed true to its source. It gave us what it was designed to – a popcorn action flick you will thoroughly enjoy in the theaters, With the exception of Rogue Nation, recent entries like Mission Impossible: Fallout and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol just showed how far Ethan Hunt has come from sporting boyish looks.
James Bond: Better Global Presence and Recognition
There is no contest between Bond and Hunt in this category. If you take a hundred people chosen randomly from all over the globe, you will very rarely meet an individual who has not heard the name of James Bond. Do the same with Ethan Hunt and you will have your answer! Bond has a more global outreach and a better presence in the international arena. MI movies have made around 650 Million in international grosses. That number is over 1 Billion for the Bond movies if the same number of last entries is taken into consideration.
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Mission Impossible: Money Talks
If we take the sheer Box office Collection of James Bond movies and the Mission Impossible movies into consideration, the MI movies win by a mile. The total number of movies produced by Eon Productions for the 007 franchise is 25. The amount they have amassed at the Box Office till date is a little over 7 Billion Dollars. There are a total of 6 Mission Impossible Movies. The total Box office Earning for the MI franchise is 3.57 Billion dollars. That is a total of 595 Million Dollars per movie for the Mission Impossible franchise. For the James Bond movies, it comes down to 280 Million Dollars. Since the Bond movies also have huge production costs, the net profits are also very lower.