TL;DR
  • Intricate, captivating plot
  • Occasionally feels like the mission may be “impossible” – finally!
  • Hints at current fears in society but doesn’t really get to the heart of them
  • Incredible fight scenes and stand-out stunts
  • Wonderful cast, each character bringing something special to the film
  • Rebecca Ferguson and Vanessa Kirby underused
  • Proof that these films get better and better – one of the best yet

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There’s a stereotype that gets thrown about these days, touting that the longer a film franchise goes on, the worse the films become to the point where they’re just cheap cash-ins on the franchise’s popularity. This is even more so the case when there is no overarching story (unlike Harry Potter, Marvel etc.), every new instalment met with eye-rolls and cries of “another one?” (think Die Hard, Fast and Furious and several horror franchises…). James Bond is an excellent example of a franchise that has avoided this, and now we have no choice but to admit Mission: Impossible films also do not fit this stereotype. On the contrary, aside from the lacklustre first two films, the Mission: Impossible films have improved with each entry. Honestly, I thought it would peak with Syndicate, but clearly writer/ director Christopher McQuarrie knows what he’s doing, since Fallout is incredible – perhaps the best in the series.

After the events of Rogue Nation, Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) is now safely behind bars. But with highly-valuable plutonium stolen and a radical group of terrorists known as the Apostles determined to create nuclear weapons, it is down to the IMF to do everything they can to recover the plutonium and stop the Apostles. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is instructed by boss Hunley (Alec Baldwin) to undertake the “impossible” mission with fellow teammates Luther (Ving Rhames), Benji (Simon Pegg) and Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson) – but CIA ice-queen Sloane (Angela Bassett) insists on arrogant agent August Walker (Henry Cavill) joining them. With the White Widow (Vanessa Kirby) as their only lead, does Ethan and his team stand any chance or is this mission really impossible?

It may seem strange, but in these films their supposedly “impossible” missions often prove to be very “possible.” Fallout, on the other hand, changes this; there are frequent moments where the mission goes wrong, making matters increasingly difficult and complicated. The scope and complexity is suitable for a mission that is said in the very title to be impossible. Not only is the adjective now applicable, but such a plot is much more engaging and enjoyable to watch; constantly fast-paced and rarely letting up, it’s such an exciting ride which you can’t necessarily predict. The stakes are high and it’s so tense, particularly during the finale, that you can’t tear your eyes away. Still, despite all this, it’s not as impactful as it should be, since we all know deep down that it’s going to end happily and Hunt will save the day – they’re not bold enough to have an ending like another big blockbuster that came out earlier this year… Nevertheless, there are times where you find yourself questioning if they’re going to come out of this on top, adding to the already immense excitement. On top of this, there are elements of the story that seem to reflect our fears today (terrorists, worries about nuclear weapons), but it never really capitalises on this, merely using it to frame the action and no more.

As with most Mission: Impossible films, though, the excitement isn’t really from the plot – it’s from the action; and there’s plenty of action to enjoy here with bold, incredible stunts that stand out. Though it may be a slow start compared to previous films Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation, it soon makes up for it, slowly immersing us in a non-stop thrill ride. Each fight is brilliantly choreographed and performed, every punch making an impact. You’ll find yourself wincing throughout the entire film – especially the brutal bathroom fight. In fact, it’s that scene in particular where you see various characters’ fighting styles. Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill and Rebecca Ferguson all fight in different ways, adding diversity to each scene and making sure the fights are never stale or boring (a danger in films with lots of action). Fortunately, however, there’s more to the exquisite action than just fights. As we’ve become used to in Mission: Impossible films there are multiple stunts that are a joy to watch. Whether it’s jumping across the rooftops of London or trying to hijack a helicopter, this film rivals the climbing of the Burj Khalifa in Ghost Protocol.

Another strength of Fallout is how it’s more connected to the franchise than the other films. There’s now a secure returning cast other than Tom Cruise, including Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson and even Michelle Monaghan (although it’s a shame Jeremy Renner skipped out on this one). Pegg and Rhames bring some comedy and relief, although this aspect of their characters was underused. Whilst still not necessarily the most fleshed out of cinematic characters, they’re lovable and give a stronger personality to the overall film. The female characters though are still the most underused. Ferguson’s Ilsa Faust was without a doubt the best part of Rogue Nation and, along with Vanessa Kirby’s White Widow, is one of the best parts of Fallout too. Yet again, Ferguson is an enigmatic bad-ass with a vulnerable side who commands every scene she’s in, being a perfect female equivalent to Cruise’s Hunt. Kirby plays a different kind of woman however; less reliant on her fighting abilities, she uses charm and beauty to get her way, but still carries a danger lurking beneath her performance.

Newcomer Henry Cavill injects more charisma into this role than he does Superman in the DCEU and even fellow agent Solo in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Suave but obnoxious, we love to hate him – and any fight scene is all the better when he’s there; when Sloane describes him as a “hammer,” she’s not wrong. Sean Harris’ Lane, on the other hand, is not as physically intimidating as Cavill, but his character continues in a similar vein from Rogue Nation; cold, calculating and full of malice, Harris’ performance is sinister – though still can’t beat Seymour Hoffman’s antagonist in M:I 3. This is still Tom Cruise’s film, however (as well as writer/ director Christopher McQuarrie’s). Despite varying opinions on Tom Cruise as an actor, I personally like him and can’t imagine anyone else as Ethan Hunt – who else could carry a franchise for six films and seemingly not even break a sweat? In fact, this is arguably Hunt’s best portrayal yet, as Cruise delves deeper into his psyche, looking at how his job and actions affect others around him.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout is continuing proof that the films in this franchise get better each time. Though it doesn’t go much further than just a spy-action movie, it has a solid cast (both returning and new), breath-taking stunts, nail-biting action and a plot that will keep you invested throughout. Fallout stands out as one of the best in the series as well as the genre as a whole. I can’t wait to accept the next mission…

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