author: ethan butterfield | A&C editor
Your photo, should you choose to accept it / Pixabay
The fallout from this film is fun.
“Tom Cruise is Tom Cruise crazy, just be glad it’s him not you”. For those who aren’t sure, singer-songwriter Johnathan Coulton sang these immortal words as a description for Tom Cruise’s ever-decreasing mental state. They are also words that neatly describe my feelings toward Mission: Impossible and Tom Cruise in general. I mean, what is it with this guy? Every movie he injuries himself doing the latest and craziest stunt. For example, in Ghost Protocol (the fourth film), he dangles off the side of one of the tallest buildings in the world. In Rouge Nation, he held onto the side of a plane while it was taking off, and now with Mission: impossible – Fallout, the man decides to do a nerve-racking halo jump as well as tricks in a helicopter. Tom Cruise, buddy, if you’re out there reading this (and I don’t know why you would be), please get yourself some help.
Tom Cruise’s apparent death wish aside, for anyone that hasn’t seen the newest installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise, you’re missing out big time. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Ethan, are you serious? It’s just going to be the same over-the-top, action-oriented movie we’ve seen over and over again. Why should I care this time around?” Well, honestly, because it’s the perfect over-the-top action movie. It feels weird to say, but I mean it from the bottom of my heart, Mission: Impossible – Fallout doesn’t just shake up the genre, it runs it.
So, let me explain why this is such a wonderful thing. Action films for the longest time have been very formulaic. You have your witty dialogue, your crafty villains, your big explosions, the whole shebang. That being said, you know what they don’t have? A strong sense of feeling for the main character. Sure, the audience is supposed to route for the hero and boo for the villain, of course, but what happens when the audience starts to feel something more for the hero? Now this feeling may be love, it may be hate; hell, it may be a vast amount of confusion. Who knows? The point is, the audience going into Mission: Impossible – Fallout is going to feel something for Ethan Hunt, and that’s what makes the film so powerful, at least on an emotional level.
We, as viewers, have followed Ethan Hunt through all of his years in the I.M.F (depending on if you’ve watched the whole franchise). We’ve seen him beaten, bruised, and bloodied in every entry of the series. This is something that Fallout handles perfectly in regard to Cruise’s character. Not to spoil too much, but I love the fact that Ethan Hunt just looks tired. Now, this may or may not be due to Tom Cruise’s age, but a subplot where it’s becoming harder and harder for Ethan to do his job is so interesting to me. Again, as someone who’s stuck with the character through every movie, my feelings toward the hero are real when it comes to the outcome. I don’t want Ethan Hunt to get old, I don’t want him to fail in stopping the bad guy, but I also know he’s no spring chicken, and at some point, he’s going to slip up.
Another thing that Fallout does quite well is the great use of past characters. Exhibit A: Ving Rhames’s Luther, the only other character to make an appearance in every Mission: Impossible film aside from Tom Cruise himself. Fallout does a wonderful job extending his role past the five-minute mark, where it usually lies in other entries. His character is useful, he’s crucial to the story, all in all, he’s a solid supporting cast member. Then comes Exhibit B: Michelle Monaghan’s Julia, who plays the now ex-wife of Ethan Hunt. I’m glad to say that her role was also extended past the five-minute mark. Granted, she did have less of a role than Luther, but it was still an important one none the less. Hell, if it weren’t for her, the team probably would’ve been… uhhh, nevermind.
So if the sense of feeling is there and the characterization is good, that means we’re done here right? Wrong! There’s one other thing Mission: Impossible – Fallout does that truly sets it apart from other films of the same genre. The use of tension. It is more masterfully done in this film then in any Mission: impossible movie. I’m not just talking about the final act either, I mean most of the movie is tense. The action scenes, the dialogue, Henry Cavill’s character alone just makes things tenser. Now I’ve used so many variations of tense, the word is lost on me.
Long story short, Mission: Impossible – Fallout is worth the price of admission. I understand why some might be skeptical of this long running franchise, but in the end, the film is just entertaining to call it a “been there, done that” affair. I will say though, whenever the next film comes out, will somebody out there tell Tom Cruise to take it easy. One of these days he’s going to give himself an early retirement. Until next time all!