Review: Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

Here are my two cents on the 2015 film, 'Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation', written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie.

For starters:

'Rogue Nation' marks the fifth film in the franchise (which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2016) and was released in theatres by Paramount Pictures. The successful franchise originally started out as a long-running television series that famously starred Dan Briggs (in season one) and Peter Graves (from season two, onward). It ran from 1966 to 1973 and produced 7 seasons (with a series revival (also starring Peter Graves) airing for two more seasons from 1988 to 1990). The current series of movies started in 1996 and has seen a number of famous directors take the reigns (Brian De Palma, John Woo, J. J. Abrams, and Brad Bird directed movies 1-4, respectively). This film seemingly takes place directly after the series' previous installment, 'Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol'.

Critical Reception:

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has received a rating of 93% positive reviews (out of 100%), based on 227 reviews, with an average rating of 7.5 (out of 10). Metacritic has given the film a rating of 75 (out of 100), based on 46 critics, while, on IMDb (the Internet Movie Database), the film has received a rating of 7.8 (out of 10) based on the reviews of 307 users and 348 critics.

A brief synopsis:

After completing a successful, albeit shaky, mission to recover a shipment from enemy hands, IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is convinced that he has enough intel to support the existence of a rogue criminal organization known as "The Syndicate". But after being captured by said organization and learning that the IMF has been dissolved into the CIA following a proposal from CIA director Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin), Hunt must covertly scramble together a team he trusts (consisting of returning series stars, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, and Ving Rhames) and put his trust in Isla Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), a disavowed MI6 agent and current Syndicate operative who's actions are as hard to predict as the organization she represents, to keep the world from falling into chaos under the hand of Syndicate leader, Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), all while evading being captured by the CIA for previous acts of "mayhem" (referring specifically to events that took place during the first and fourth films).

My thoughts on the film:

As a long-term fan of the series (the films, not the television series - never watched it), I can tell you that this film was one of the ones I most anticipated seeing in theatres this year (especially since it seems like each film one-ups the previous one). And it is with great pleasure that I tell you that 'Rogue Nation' is definitely the new best film in the series. This is especially impressive given that it's only director Christopher McQuarrie's third directorial effort (after 2000's 'The Way of the Gun' and 2012's 'Jack Reacher' (another action movie featuring Cruise as the lead)). And the film's direction is definitely one of its notable strengths. I'd even go as far as to say that this film brings together the best elements from each previous entry. The strong espionage-centered tone (from the first film) is blended with very artistically choreographed (and shot) action sequences (like in the second film), features a villain that is convicted as Phillip Seymour Hoffman was in the third film, and has the clever humour and thirst for raising the bar that the fourth film had. And, of course, credit has to be given to Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, and Simon Pegg (who illuminate the screen with their spot-on performances).

If I were to note any negative qualities, I'd say that the climax of the film (while in no way a disappointment) wasn't quite as surprising as the rest of the film was (there were twists coming from all directions for most of the film) and ended in a way that was not incredibly difficult to predict. But, I must say, the fates of certain characters (I wont disclose which characters), remained cloudy until the very end which successfully kept me on the edge of my seat. So, in truth, the ending was still very satisfactory.

The highlight of the film:

The opera scene from start to finish. Watch for some of the best action movie cinematography and editing you've likely ever seen. I saw this movie three times in theatres and this scene was the one I most looked forward to (the second and third times around, of course - didn't know what was coming the first time).

Final thoughts:

If you're a fan of the series (or films like this one, in general) then I strongly suggest that you go to see 'Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation'. Even people who aren't huge action or spy movie fanatics are still likely to enjoy this film, I think, since it's got so much in the way of clever humour, great visuals, and a simple-yet-engaging story.

Now, it's time to wait for 'Mission: Impossible VI and VII' (which have been confirmed as of August 2015).

Thanks for reading my review! I think it's safe to say that I have now found a review layout that will remain consistent from here on out (for those of you who hadn't noticed, each review was sort of formatted differently from the last).

Again, thank you for reading,