Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

“I kinda kept forgetting this movie was happening. It arrived with so much less fanfare than any of its predecessors. I think the trailer came my way only once or twice, and when I was adding movies to my Google calendar months in advance, IMDB kept showing Jul 31 as a sort of TBD. I very much love this franchise, so it was kind of a happy surprise, a gift even, to brighten up my summer even more.

Now, I’ve said this before, and I will say (type) it again, and I will keep saying it until the day I die. I will always support Tom Cruise as an actor. Sure, he may be a bit of a crazy person IRL (debatable), but if we let his work speak for itself, he truly is fantastic. Don’t believe me? Go watch Magnolia, Rain Man, Top Gun, Collateral, Minority Report, Tropic Thunder, and any of the previous MI movies (preferable 1 or 4). Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Wasn’t he fantastic in all of those? Didn’t those all represent an incredible range and even greater charisma. And there’s still other lauded performances of his, including his other two (Magnolia being the first) Oscar nominated performances: Jerry Maguire and Born on the Fourth of July, neither of which I know as well as I should, which is why I left them off the list of movies I do vouch for him in. It’s such a shame that his image has been tarnished by his actions and perceived antics. I read this really awesome article written last year that described how he was one of the first victims of viral video and internet celebrity gossip sites. Ten years ago, no one knew how big these things would blow up, and this once very private movie star made a series of missteps that will live on in infamy, and it saddens me to no end that it’s had such a negative impact on his career. (Sidebar: The linked article is a little lengthy, but it is a fascinating and informative read. If any of my rant has peaked your interest, do go read it).

Okay I’ll get up off my soapbox (I still love you, Tom!) and will actually talk about the movie. Well, first, a quick thought on the franchise. MI:2 came out right as I was starting to get into action movies, and 15 year old me ate it up. I revisited 1 and was blown away. 3, little bit of a letdown, but could have been worse (it could have been Die Hard 5 *tear*). 4 was perfection. Absolute perfection. I loved how every previous installment had its own vibe, owing in part to the rotating directors. 1 focused on the intrigue, 2 the action, 3 I don’t even remember, 4 brought us levity. Lots and lots of much needed levity. And that helped revitalize the franchise. 5 took a lot of its tone from 4 and structure from 1. In other words, combining the best of the best.

Okay, so combining the best elements doesn’t guarantee the best movie. While I’ve heard some arguments otherwise, I don’t think it topped those two predecessors. But it sure came damn close. In a time when more and more movies are going dark (I’m looking at everything you do, Zack Snyder), I love that MI:n (n being used as a variable, for all you non math geeks) is going light. Now I do love my dark movies, but not when they’re dark for the sake of being dark. The humor initially worked its way in thru Simon Pegg in the previous, but Cruise has started to get more comfortable with it, and it’s such a better world because of it.

I don’t know why Cruise tends to hide his sense of humor. It’s part of the charisma that’s got him this far, and it’s what’s going to continue to propel him forward, back into the spotlight (as much as he wants to, of course) and back into the hearts of America. He started to show us that when he lip synced with Jimmy Fallon. His self depricating humor was the best part of the fan-\m/-tastic and criminally underseen Edge of Tomorrow. And let’s not forget about Les Grossman. He allowed his comedic flag to fly a little freer this time to great effect.

Now, the part where we get real, I felt like there was just a little something missing. Maybe the plot got too complicated, maybe they blew their wad with the earlier action sequences and the climax felt anticlimactic, maybe the scenes in between big sequences felt too much like filler. I don’t know. Something made my mind wander at certain points, and I never did quite get the logic of what was going on. But the parts that were awesome were really \m/ awesome (that underwater scene, oh man!). Maybe not as awesome as their counterparts in 1 and 4, but when awesome is the word you’re using to describe parts of a 5th installment, you’re doing pretty good. I guess the Fast Franchise isn’t the only one who found new life in their second trilogy. Star Wars, I hope you’ve learned your lesson in time for the next set.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n”

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