Geekdom Come, The Franchise

The Franchise: Mission Impossible

Tomorrow the sixth entry into the Mission Impossible film franchise: Mission Impossible: Fallout hits theaters. Given that I thought it would be a good time to take a look back at what makes these movies tick. You notice I say film and movies. I know that M:I was also a TV series that ran for seven seasons plus a reboot but honestly those shows have so little in common with the movie series I decided that they really qualify as their own entity. The TV show was an ensemble piece that has more in common with the Ocean’s 11 franchise than they do with the Tom Cruise action vehicles the modern films serve as.
Core Concept: Kinda says in right there in the title right? “Mission: Impossible” What crazy, over-the-top scenario can we put Tom Cruise in that will result in super-convoluted plots and never been done before stunts. Honestly I think they come up with the stunts first and the script second. But man do they know how to pull off an action set piece.
Essential Moments: Two moments both from the first movie. The betrayal of Cruise’s team in the original movie set the stage for all the betrayals to come and cleared the board to turn Ethan Hunt into more of a lone wolf than team player. While the heist of the noc list from CIA HQ set the bar for all the outrageous missions to follow.
Rouges Gallery: Great villains are not exactly what this franchise is known for and even though Cruise’s foes are often played by great actors the scripts rarely give them much to do. Phillip Seymour Hoffman in MI:3 was perhaps the most well rounded of the group and the antagonist who came closest to actually breaking Tom Cruise. Jon Voight was solid as the mentor gone bad. Sean Harris’ Solomon Lane is the only one of this group to get a second outing so we will see how he ranks after Fallout is through with him.
Best Stories: Rogue Nation is a lot of fun and there is an argument to be made for Ghost Protocol. But even though the stunts get bigger the best script and the best cast are found in the original film. If you were only going to have a friend watch one that would be it. Despite its lack of Simon Pegg.
NEVER DO IT THIS WAY AGAIN: Mission Impossible 2. You had Thadie Newton and Anthony Hopkins and that’s what you decide to do with them? What a waste. Too many masks, not enough real twists and the whole go back undercover with your ex plot-line was both extremely misogynistic and extremely cliche. MI:3 had a lot of flaws as well but it was nowhere near as bad as MI:2. Honestly I’m surprised the franchise survived it.

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