Released: 2nd August
Seen: 2nd August
One of the fascinating things about the Mission: Impossible series is how much it’s grown and evolved. Often, a long-running film series will decline in quality with maybe one or two sequels bucking the trend. Mission: Impossible has somehow done something I genuinely thought was… for lack of a better word, impossible and just kept getting better with every sequel. The series could, theoretically, be separated into a pair of trilogies, the first one culminating in Ethan Hunt (Played by Tom Cruise) actually meeting his match in Owen Davian (Played by the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman) and showing the character dealing with being in the IMF and what that actually means for him, if he can even handle it. This second trilogy (Made up of Ghost Protocol, Rogue Nation and Fallout) all deal with Ethan having to deal with the ramifications of what he did in the IMF, some of those ramifications including the IMF disbanding. It’s been five long movies worth of build up and now, in Mission: Impossible – Fallout, everything from Ethan’s past is about to catch up with him.
With expert writing, this film picks up two years after Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, with terrorist Solomon Lane (Played by Sean Harris) being thrown from agency to agency, being waterboarded and interrogated for any information he can on what remains of The Syndicate, the vast terrorist organisation that was the main adversary of Rogue Nation. The remnants of the Syndicate, since a large amount of them have been tracked down and eliminated in the two years between this movie and the last one, have formed a new organisation known as The Apostles who are hellbent on following the manifesto written by a mysterious person called John Lark. The great thing about how this is written is that you do not need the backstory from Rogue Nation in order to pick up what’s being told here. It’s all laid out very carefully, the audience is told the details they need to know so you’re not going to feel lost. I do heavily recommend watching at least Rogue Nation first, just so you can get a little more of the backstory between Ethan and Solomon, but it’s not essential.
This film really enjoys making sure key moments from the series have an impact here. Fallout does not just refer to the potential nuclear fallout (Because of COURSE this movie is all about nukes, with that title it was pretty obvious) but he has to deal with the fallout of his actions throughout his life. From who he let go free to who he pissed off to which beloved people he had to put in hiding, it all finally comes to a head for him and throughout the movie he has to manage the fallout of every single decision he’s made. Again, watching the other movies isn’t essential because they do feed you the key information you’ll need for some of these moments to have the proper impact. However, this movie definitely feels like someone was looking back over the series and taking copious notes of everything Ethan has done just so they can try and show the consequences of those actions here.
Masterfully, every scene in this film builds tension like I don’t think any other entry in the franchise has. Every action sequence has a serious consequence at hand, every single chase comes with a twist that’ll kick it into high gear. I have complained in the past about films that have issues with geography when it comes to action sequences (Hi, Equalizer 2) and this one does it perfectly. It’s high adrenaline and some scenes sprawl over great distances, but you always have a solid idea of where the characters are in relation to everyone else so you don’t feel tricked when someone pops up out of nowhere, because you understand how they got there. It also means that a constant worry of “Oh god, are they going to make it?” pops up often and just get’s more intense as the film continues on.
Helping this tension build is the fantastic cast. Old cast members like Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Fergusson and Alec Baldwin all turn up and give some of the best performances in the series. They’re joined by notable newbies like Angela Bassett, who is basically flawless and is able to command attention with a look which makes her a force to be reckoned with. There’s Henry Cavill, who provides some of the best action sequences and is so intimidating that you almost forget that the moustache on his face is the same one they had to digitally remove in Justice League (Though looking at it… really Paramount? He couldn’t have regrown that in under 2 weeks? You couldn’t have used a fake moustache? Really?). Finally, there’s Vanessa Kirby as the White Widow who just steals every scene she’s in. All of these characters throw up massive roadblocks for the main character and all of them are welcome additions to the franchise.
This movie is a brilliant way to follow up on the groundwork that Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation laid out. It’s a thrilling conclusion to this part of the Mission Impossible franchise, it lets Ethan Hunt deal with the aftermath of his career. I don’t know if there’ll be more of these, but I’m excited to see what new direction they take this franchise in… let’s just hope Tom doesn’t break another ankle next time!