While superhero movies continue to be thrown at us left right and centre, while we question the need for another Jurassic World, while even Star Wars starts to show signs of fatigue, this series seems to be going from strength to strength. Since the slight dud that is the second movie, Mission: Impossible has been on a consistent upward trajectory, culminating in a sixth film which is pretty much perfect.
In Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Christopher McQuarrie (the first to direct two Mission’s) has not only made the best film in the series to date, but he’s actually made one of the best action movies in years.
This time Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) finds himself in a rich variety of locations – from Paris to London to Northern India – in hunt of some mysterious nuclear weapon-obsessed bad guys. Cruise has never been better as Hunt, and his dedication to the dangerous does not seem to be wavering. Stunt after stunt, fight after fight, the two and a half hour runtime flies by and it’s extraordinary that McQuarrie manages to keep us so transfixed for so long, while moving at such a fast pace.
There are so many great action sequences that it’s actually hard to remember them all. It moves and progresses with an astonishing rhythm and the emphasis on practical effects, with CGI there to enhance rather than create, amalgamate into a jaw-dropping spectacle. A spectacle and narrativization of action which very few people not called Christopher Nolan can achieve.
It also features perhaps the best score of the franchise, courtesy of Lorne Balfe. Elements are reminiscent of the late Jóhann Jóhannsson’s superbly tense Sicario score, while other moments sound a little like Hans Zimmer’s work on the Dark Knight Trilogy (which Balfe worked in the music department for). Most importantly, throughout the versatile and ever-changing composition, he maintains that timelessly brilliant Mission: Impossible theme.
Complementing the high-adrenaline stuff is a really strong ensemble, developed now over a number of years. Luther (Ving Rhames) gets more to do than is usually the case, Benji (Simon Pegg) is lovable as ever and Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson) continues to steal scenes after she burst into the franchise in Rogue Nation.
Sean Harris also reprises his role as creepy villain Solomon Lane, while new addition Vanessa Kirby makes a fine impression. Most notably is Superman himself, Henry Cavill, bulldozing his way through as a CIA equivalent of Ethan Hunt. Cavill is no stranger to an action flick, but this is his best yet. Fierce, passionate and completely ruthless, he’s a worthy alternative to Tom Cruise’s protagonist.
It’s hard to believe Cruise is 56 when you look at the strains he puts himself through. Here he does so to perhaps the greatest success of his career. Fallout is an endlessly thrilling spy caper and an action film which should be re-watched for years and years to come. One of the best cinema experiences of 2018, and the best franchise film of the summer.