‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’ Is the Film Series at Its Best

Matthew Loffhagen
(Photo: Paramount)

Making a new “Mission Impossible” certainly seems like an impossible mission.

Well, in fairness, anyone can make one of these movies. It takes a really talented director to make one that surpasses everything that’s come before.

It’s even more challenging if you also have to improve upon your own winning formula.

“Mission Impossible: Fallout”, the sixth movie in the modern franchise, is directed by Christopher McQuarrie.

McQuarrie also directed “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation”, so in addition to making a movie that lives up to the legacy of previous instalments in the series, he also has to do so having already burned through all his best ideas.

An Unexpectedly Fantastic Series

It’s hard to say, up to this point, which of these movies is definitively the best. A lot of this comes down to choice.

Critics as a whole ever so slightly prefer “Ghost Protocol”. Meanwhile, audiences are overwhelmingly more fond of “Rogue Nation”.

The buildup to this movie has been bigger and louder than anything that’s come before. It’s truly impressive how a series of directors and producers have built up such a powerful brand around these movies.

With the exception of “Mission Impossible 2”, none of these films have underwhelmed audiences. What’s more, Tom Cruise’s continued eagerness to risk life and limb for these films has created a cult of sensationalism around each new release.

People want to see what kind of ridiculous stunts Cruise will pull off this time. We’re excited to see just how real these movies are.

Of course, behind the scenes, there’s still a lot of technical wizardry that creates a compelling artificial experience. Even when Cruise is clinging onto the side of a plane, he’s not entirely without support or protective measures.

Perhaps that’s why a genuine military parachute operation is one of the big sellers this time around. In order to keep wowing audiences, the stunts need to get more and more difficult to pull off.

Tom Cruising

I like the observations made by YouTuber Patrick (H) Willems in a recent video, when he noted that Cruise’s character, Ethan Hunt, changes his personality from movie to movie based on Cruise’s own public perception.

This is why “Fallout” is leaning so hard into the idea that the draw for these movies; the point of their existence; is to watch Cruise do dangerous stuff.

This isn’t really the case. The thing that keeps people coming back, time after time, is the fact that these are well-choreographed action movies that are engaging and entertaining beyond a single scene.

We may come for the parachute scene, but we stay for the storytelling.

And for Henry Cavill’s moustache.

So is “Fallout” the best “Mission Impossible” yet?

The critics seem to think so. As do early viewers.

We’ll have to wait and see what the more general audience reactions are like over the next week before we can know for sure if people actually care.

Something tells me this isn’t a movie to bet against. On paper, the formula is solid.

The “Mission Impossible” franchise may be about to reach even greater heights, yet again. That’s pretty impressive!