For a movie to have numerous sequels and each still be good is rare.
That’s the case with Mission: Impossible.
About the film
Like James Bond movies became known for their elaborate stunts, M:I is renowned for acrobatic, dangerous stunts performed by its star, Tom Cruise.
Here’s how the Movie Man has ranked the earlier M:Is:
Mission: Impossible – 1995, MM #196, 7
Mission: Impossible 2 – 2000, MM #342, 6
Mission: Impossible 3 – 2006, MM #664. 5
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol – 2011, MM #963, 8
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation – 2015, MM #1151, 8, Best of Year
Lately, the series has been exceptional.
That says a lot for the care taken with the series, including bringing in some solid actors like Philip Seymour Hoffman and Alec Baldwin.
That brings us to Henry Cavill.
Of actors who have been around for several years – in some high profile roles, too – Cavill is the most under-the-radar guy around.
You likely know him for playing Superman in recent DC movies.
He almost got that role earlier; he was edged out by Brandon Routh (remember him?) in Superman Returns (2006, MM #673, 7 – a solid version that just didn’t stick for some reason).
When Supes was rebooted again in 2013 as The Man of Steel (MM #1040, 7), Cavill donned the cape.
And he’s a good Superman as he proved in his next appearance, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016, MM #1195, 7 [the Movie Man’s not a hater of this film]).
In his third outing, Cavill was a saving grace – along with the Flash’s quips – in Justice League (2017, MM #1281, 6) when he finally appeared.
(The scene where he casually eyes the Flash speeding around him – and the Scarlet Speedster’s amazement that Superman could see him –was one of last year’s best.).
Two more Cavill Superman movies loom and neither have release dates, but are just “announced.”
One is another standalone Superman movie and the other is the Justice League sequel.
The Movie Man happened upon another Cavill role that film audiences mostly shunned in 2015, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
It’s the sort of offbeat film that could’ve spawned sequels, but it barely broke even (and that’s factoring in the worldwide take).
Cavill is good in his roles; he’s just not that well known.
The plot (spoiler)
Ethan Hunt (Cruise) gets contacted by boss Hunley (Alec Baldwin) to recover a trio of plutonium canister that is being shopped to terrorists.
He gets them but a life-or-death decision he must make sees the material get grabbed by someone else.
Cruise and his usual cohorts – Luther (Ving Rhames) and Benji (Simon Pegg) – plan on another effort but CIA bigwig Sloan (Angela Bassett) insists on her hand-picked specialist Walker (Cavill) to tag along.
Along the way, the group not only must contend with mysterious contacts like the White Widow (Vanessa Kirby) but old bad guy Soloman (Sean Harris) is a key figure, too.
Not to mention the return of former flame Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson) and his former wife, Julia (Michelle Monaghan).
All along the way, there are crosses and double-crosses as well, of course, as some crazy stunts.
Cruise has this role down pat. He’s heroic and you can still believe that he could hang off a helicpoter or jump from building to building.
All the rest, including Cavill bad guy Harris, and the White Widow’s brother Zola (Frederick Schmidt), are rock solid.
The real hero of the movie is director Christopher McQuarrie; his former claim to fame, mainly, was writing The Usual Suspects (1995).
The movie is filled with several not only eye-popping visuals, but even the transitional shots, often in exotic locales, are exceptionally well done.
One cool thing in the movie is how the trailer tricks you. In coming attractions, it looks like Cruise and Cavill are fighting each other in a bathroom but that turns out to not be the case. Very sly.
The 3-D seemed a waste until the final set piece, a helicopter clash; there are some very nice shots in that extended sequence.
Most motorcycles-speeding-through-crowded-streets sequences have been done to death, but the one here is truly action-packed.
What doesn’t work
There are two major problems.
One, the plot is unnecessarily convoluted, and it’s easy to get lost.
Two: The movie is way too long – it’s sometimes too much like a bunch of action scenes stuck together.
There’s an f-bomb and some mild cussing. Mainly, however, the PG-13 is for the intense action and some in-your-face violence.
While Fallout brings a lot of former faces back and has a nice bow tied on it at the end making it feel like No. 6 would be the final Mission: Impossible, it made the most opening weekend money of any yet.
So, it would be safe to not bet against No. 7 in 2022.
Christopher Robin which looks like a nice heartwarming tale.