There are spoilers in this review.
True story: I really dislike Tom Cruise as a human being but I love his movies. It’s a constant struggle. He picks good movies. I think he’s hit the level of star power where he just chooses to do roles he thinks are fun and doesn’t care about any other part, and if I was an actress, that’s the level I’d want to be at. I would definitely do a Mission Impossible film in that case. So yes, I love the Mission Impossible movies. I’ve seen every one, and even the subpar ones I consider entertaining messes. The last flick Rogue Nation was probably my favorite of the whole lot, not the least because Rebecca Ferguson was added as the incredible character Ilsa Faust. When I heard she was in this one too, I was in. It’s also a Mission Impossible that requires you to have seen some of the others, because they reintroduced Ethan’s wife and also the villain from Rogue Nation is a part of this one too. But I’m getting ahead of myself. General concept: Ethan Hunt is the lead of all these movies, a badass who does impossible things and every time you go ‘he can’t possibly do that’ and then he does. Ilsa was a MI6 agent who was screwed over by her own agency and planned on running away. The bad guy Solomon Lane was recruiting agents who were screwed over by their agencies to become rogue terrorists instead, and he was captured by the team.
Solomon’s group the Syndicate have only continued on as the Apostles now with new leadership. There are three plutonium cores that they are trying to get their hands on so they can nuke areas to create chaos. Ethan loses one of them after he trades his friend Luther’s life instead of picking the mission over it. The secret bad guy is someone named John Lark, the leader of this group, and it is very, very obvious right off the bat that he’s Henry Cavill’s character. I’m sorry to spoil so soon, but seriously. It doesn’t help that they’ve been openly referring to him as the antagonist of this movie, so maybe they didn’t care if people knew from the beginning. He’s a CIA operative named August Walker who is told by the CIA director to join the team and watch them, thus having reason to plant evidence on Ethan and try to make him into the bad guy. Yes, this is something that happens every movie, people think Ethan and his group are evil and he has to race against people hunting him while solving the mystery. It also is insane that people still make this mistake, and that anyone would think Ethan Hunt of all people would want to randomly nuke anyone. But hey, those are the movies. It is what it is.
Ilsa comes back into the picture when she’s trying to kill Solomon, who they are moving and trying to recapture. She’s told if she kills him, she’ll be let go by MI6 and have her freedom. Ethan struggles with the fact he has to probably hand over Solomon to the bad guys, and his attempts to stop it from happening don’t work out. They’re sad when their new leader Alec Baldwin (forgot his real name) gets shanked by Walker/Lark. He was kind of a silly character so I shrugged a bit, but at least they killed him and not one of the leads. Things get significantly worse when the team track down one of the bombs, now being armed, and his ex-wife Julia is there. Solomon really wants to hurt Ethan, while at the same time willing to go down with the ship so to speak, staying in the refuge camp where the bomb is. Julia’s remarried and happy helping others for a living now. The team has to kill Solomon and defuse the bomb, which is only possible if Ethan can grab Walker/Lark WHILE HAVING A HELICOPTER FIGHT (I laughed so hard) because he has the remote. I’m sure you can assume that they all make it out and the team wins another insane mission.
As usual the action sequences are incredibly fun. The helicopter fight was so ridiculous and entertaining, but I think my favorite action sequence was when they got Solomon out of his protected transport. It was a car chase and also getting to him before he drowned and just all very entertaining to watch. The other one that was fun was Ethan trying to run down Walker/Lark on foot and diving through office buildings. Ilsa is a highlight for me again, and I am glad they strayed for another movie from having her and Ethan just naturally get together. I was worried she was only in Rogue Nation for a romance, and that didn’t happen, and it didn’t happen in this one either despite them clearly getting closer to each other. It’ll likely happen in the next if she sticks around, but I’d be all for her own spin-off honestly. She’s a great character and her stunts are excellent too. Or maybe she can take over the Mission Impossible movies if Tom wants to walk away. The cast was charming as ever. I love Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames. Henry Cavill was great as an obvious villain and he’s an intimidating figure. I frankly have no criticisms to say really. These movies are pure entertainment. They’re not brilliant or serious. You grab yourself popcorn and just grin as they up the ante of ridiculous action scenes. I’m not going to lie, I’d probably watch ten more of these movies. As long as they keep making them, I’ll keep seeing them. And cursing the fact Tom Cruise is so damn watchable.