Up until last month, I had only seen the first two Mission Impossible movies – I know, I’m a disgrace. It’s not that I didn’t like the movies, I thought the second film, with Thandie Newton and Dougary Scott was particularly good, even though it’s highly regarded as the worst in the franchise. I think it was just the Tom Cruise thing – I don’t particularly rate his Ethan Hunt. I think Cruise is great in nearly every other movie I’ve seen him in, but Ethan Hunt is cold and unrelatable, and I find it hard to watch someone I have no connection with whatsoever.
Anyway, Jess loves the franchise, so we sat down and had a Mission Impossible marathon the other day, and yes, I enjoyed them – though I wouldn’t say that they were particularly life changing. Having sat through all five films however, I decided I was well enough equipped to watch the latest instalment at the cinema – if only for the controversial moustache of Henry Cavill. What I saw genuinely shocked me. This relatively unoriginal spy franchise produced something exciting and beautiful, funny and clever. It ran out as more of a James Bond film than the usual Mission Impossible, and I totally dug that.
The plot sees Ethan Hunt and his team go up against a religious group called the Apostles – led by the mysterious John Lark – who have stolen plutonium to make nuclear bombs that they will use to cull the population – Thanos style. Hunt must impersonate Lark, and gain the trust of an arms dealer, so that he can get the explosives before they fall into the wrong hands, but it’s not quite that simple – it never is. The CIA don’t trust him, so he gains a ‘babysitter’ called Agent Walker – Henry Cavill. He also runs into ex-flame, Rebecca Furguson’s Ilsa, who has her own conflicting agenda. Not to mention the return of Hunt’s nemesis, the anarchist Solomon Lane.
He’s basically got his hands full with the sheer number of double crosses and triple crosses, so the storyline does suffer a little, getting a bit confusing and hard to follow at times – I came out of the cinema still not entirely sure who was and wasn’t working for the apostles, much to the disgust of Jess, who apparently knew exactly what was going on. Nonetheless, it was perfectly paced, flitting between countries and locations seamlessly, whilst making sure you knew exactly where you were in the process, and it managed to provided intrigue and suspense, whilst still giving you the opportunity to predict events, so that you could sit there with a smug ‘I saw that coming’ grin on your face without feeling a little short changed by its predictability – because there was always some sort of twist in the end.
The action is where this movie shines though. From a jaw dropping car chase through Paris, to a perfectly choreographed bathroom fist fight, not to mention a breath-taking helicopter scene towards the end of the film, and a rooftop pursuit in which we finally get to see the moment Cruise broke his leg doing a particular stunt – yes I did cringe a little at the moment of impact. It was all just adrenaline and fun – like the world was Ethan Hunt’s playground.
Hunt himself – the cold, unrelatable Ethan Hunt I alluded to earlier – felt much more real this time around. They only touched on his personal life briefly, but when they did, it packed such a punch that I could finally feel for the guy and what he has to go through in this lonely, isolated world he lives in. Ilsa was a highlight as well. Rebecca Ferguson has such a presence that she completely captivates in any seen she’s in. There’s a particular chase where you don’t even see her face, or get told that she’s the person behind the helmet, you can just sense her – she’s a brilliant addition to the franchise.
As for the supporting cast, Simon Pegg’s Benji was his usual, lovable self – you almost hope that Pegg is the epitome of his character in real life because the world needs more Benji’s. Ving Rhames’ Luther was also a treat, though he did seem to get a little lost in the midst of all the other incredible characters, which included newcomer Vanessa Kirby as the ‘White Widow’ – a black market arms dealer, who is the daughter of Max from the first movie. She was massively underused, but was one of the most memorable characters – a powerful, captivating, beautiful woman who holds her own in what I can only imagine is a male dominated line of business.
I think the biggest highlight of the film for me however, was the stunning locations used in this movie – hats off to Cinematographer, Rob Hardy. We got a glimpse of Paris from above as Hunt and Walker parachute down to the city through a thunder storm, of the London skyline as Hunt skipped from rooftop to rooftop – there’s nothing quite like seeing a city you are very familiar with being portrayed so beautifully on the big screen – and finally, the snow topped mountains of the Himalaya’s in Kahmir which were otherworldly. I couldn’t even dream up such beauty.
I feel a bit smitten if I’m hoenst. I was never expecting to love the movie as much as I did – the cast and characters, the locations, the action, the humour, it was all spot on. It’s given me a deeper respect for the entire Mission Impossible franchise, and for Tom Cruise himself, who I’m shocked only came out of filming with a broken leg after seeing all the incredible stunts he did. For the first time in the history of Mission Impossible’s existence, I’m actually excited to see what they come out with next.