Tom Cruise’s big blockbuster franchise, Mission Impossible, has had six instalments with two more on the way. Mission Impossible has been running for an impressive 24 years. It may have taken a while for the franchise to find its feet, but it’s surprising that not one movie lets it down. Below is a personal ranking of the Mission Impossible movies.
6. Mission Impossible 2
The second of the series was directed by action-hero John Woo and his style infects the pores of every scene. Now, this isn’t a bad movie, but Woo’s direction doesn’t fit the mould of what Mission Impossible wants to be. The overstylised action, the slow-mo, the flying doves – that’s not Mission Impossible. The most interesting choice Woo makes is giving a large chunk of the movie to Thandie Newton’s character, Nyah Nordoff-Hall. Newton holds up well alongside Cruise and provides an interesting protagonist, who warrants a return to the franchise.
5. Mission Impossible 3
JJ Abrams’ directorial debut cemented the Mission Impossible series as a franchise reliant on it’s big-budget set pieces. It also finally combined the right humour with its sleek action. It’s an odd choice to bring in a romantic interest for Ethan Hunt, especially after the ending of the second movie, but Michelle Monaghan stands her ground and shows us why she deserves to be in the movie. Abrams also does a great job of fleshing out the relationship between Hunt and his longtime partner, Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames).
4. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
Rogue Nation was Christoper McQuarrie’s first outing as director of a Mission Impossible film (he also did Fallout and will direct the next two). He settles into the franchise with ease and delivers some stunning setpieces. One in particular involves showing us a side of the opera never seen before. Rogue Nation introduces some important characters to the franchise and builds on relationships from the previous films. Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust proves to be intriguing, whereas Sean Harris cements himself as the franchise’s best villain so far. One thing that stands out is Benji (Simon Pegg) and Ethan’s relationship. They are the most unlikely pairing, but they stick together like a jigsaw puzzle.
3. Mission Impossible: Fallout
Mission Impossible: Fallout ups the stakes on all the right levels, including the action. For the first time, we have a recurring villain in the form of Solomon Lane (Sean Harris). With Lane proving himself to be a worthy adversary in Rogue Nation, it makes sense to bring him back into the fold. Rebecca Ferguson improves on her previous performance and shows herself to be an integral member of the team. And, in terms of storyline closure, it’s great to see Michelle Monaghan’s Julia finally get the ending we needed.
2. Mission Impossible
The film that kicked off an unknowing franchise is one that often gets mixed feelings. It is quite unlike any of the other films, but in a good way. Focusing mostly on the espionage element, director Brian de Palma offers one of the greatest spy movies of all time. The plot is often cited as being too complex, although it’s really not hard to follow and offers up some great twists. And, of course, the most famous scenes of the franchise, stills holds up. The sequence featuring Cruise being lowered into a vault is hard to shake and stands out as a franchise best.
1. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
Now, this might be a controversial choice but Ghost Protocol has everything that makes a great Mission Impossible film. Barely allowing any time to breathe, the film ploughs along at a breakneck pace, offering an insane amount of action. The highlight of the film is most obviously the daring stunt on the Burj Khalifa. Offering a slight twist on the ‘impossible mission’ sequence of the film, Hunt is forced to climb the Burj Khalifa as a last minute choice, rather than as part of a well-thought out plan. It exemplifies his daring nature and his urgent desire to protect the world. It also solidifies Ethan Hunt’s position as one of cinema’s greatest action heroes.