It's PG-13 because...surprise! The rest of the series is PG-13. Did you know that Ethan Hunt, in this movie, does dangerous things? Like, he gets into all kinds of fights! Oh my goodness! There's a moderate amount of violence, totally unlike the other ones. There's some mild language that some people would consider family friendly amounts, but who knows what that means! (I hate writing MPAA summaries for franchises that all that the same amount of objectionable content.) PG-13.
DIRECTOR: Christopher McQuarrie
I have a CNA article pending for this one. I don't know when it is coming out, but it is really weird writing a review for a movie that I just reviewed. It is my cross to carry. I do this for you (the people! --Bane and Donald Trump). I was at night class last night when a big family get together happened. The topic of Mission: Impossible -Fallout came up and it was simply assumed that I hated it. That's weird. I think I like too much stuff. I mean, I'm critical of stuff. That's the point of writing this review. I'm trying to think about all films somewhat critically. But I overall enjoyed it. I know, it makes me a big stick in the mud to write negative stuff about everything I see. But I also do like thinking about this kind of stuff and no one really talks to me in depth about movies. It's all therapy, folks. Warning: because my other review avoided SPOILERS, this one is just going to be littered with HEAVY SPOILERS. Why write the same article twice?
There was a plan. I have to believe that. Skydance Pictures and Ali Baba Films (a Chinese corporation, believe it or not) saw which way the wind was blowing with action franchises. The Daniel Craig James Bond did something that the other James Bond films mostly avoided. They became a mythology. Bond's characterization became as important as the action on screen. I don't hate that. Before Casino Royale, the James Bond movies were more episodic. They were almost like old-timey TV where the events of the previous episode barely came into play in the next episode. For Bond, I think it really works. James Bond has been around for over 50 years. There's a lot of James Bond movies and there needed to be a change. Mission: Impossible saw that the Craig Bond movies became important and can't-miss, so they copied the formula. Mission: Impossible -Fallout, as the title implies, is all about Ethan Hunt dealing with the consequences of his actions. There is continuity between this movie and the last. Before I go any further, I have to stress that you should probably watch Rogue Nation before watching Fallout at bare minimum. I binged the whole franchise, as you can probably tell from my week of Mission: Impossible movies. This creates an interesting dynamic. I think James Bond probably has a more intense fanbase than the Mission: Impossible movies. Bond is part of our public consciousness. Mission: Impossible is just teetering on that level of cultural impact. When a new Bond movie comes out and it is built upon the previous mythology, I don't really have to rewatch the last movies because I remember what happened pretty well. It is weird to try to do the same thing with Mission: Impossible. The thing is, the Mission: Impossible is truly outstanding in small doses. I even think that the Craig Bond movies would be a bit much to binge. Action really becomes a bit tired when it is binged. Honestly, if I hadn't seen the entire franchise the week leading into Fallout, I don't think I could really appreciate Fallout outside of just being an action movie. All that being said, it is a fun movie. I mean, outside of Mission: Impossible II, the series really doesn't have a bad film. That's pretty impressive.
My biggest complaint about the movie (I swear, I liked it!) is the cheap misdirects. Mission: Impossible is fundamentally about misdirection, but there is good misdirection and bad misdirection. There are two big moments that are bad misdirection. The first one I'll give a C- because it doesn't break all of the rules. The second one gets a straight up F. Remember, this is all about spoilers. The C- one is right at the beginning. Ethan Hunt and his team have failed to secure the bombs and they say that a disaster is imminent. I was really impressed with the movie for a few seconds. The one thing that the franchise really has never dealt with is consequences. I mean, Ghost Protocol blew up the Kremlin. That has never come back to bite them in the butt in a significant way. While I don't want the Vatican irradiated by plutonium, I also know that if someone says that there are going to be consequences for failure, I need consequences for failure. When the three sites aren't actually destroyed, it's a cop out. You established a rule early in the film. Ethan made a choice between securing the nuclear material or protecting his friends and he protected his friends. There shouldn't be a cake-and-eat-it-too situation here. If the fundamental problem that Ethan Hunt is dealing with is that he had a binary choice, he should have to live with that binary choice. These reviews keep coming back to Star Trek. The lesson that Kirk learns from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is that the Kobiyashi Maru is a nice sentiment, but there has to be a consequence. Kirk secures the Genesis device and defeats Khan, but loses Spock as a consequence. At least he loses him for one movie. If you call Alec Baldwin's character the equivalent of Spock, I giggle at that idea. Really, Ethan comes out of this movie with no regrets. His nuclear device doesn't blow anything up and his failure is inconsequential. But I only give it a C-, because it is fabulously executed. The second that Luther asked for the information, I knew that it was a con. That's fine. The con is awesome. The Wolf Blitzer gag really toes that line between cute and too much, but I'm okay with it in the long run. The one that gets an F is the fakeout at the end. Ethan is trying to stop a nuclear device from going off. (The name of the movie is Fallout. They really ride that as far as that train will go.) There's one second left and then the editing fades to white. We all know that Ethan Hunt and his crew didn't all die. We know that. The thing that makes it a little bit worse is that the characters aren't experiencing that editing technique. They didn't see a flash of white, so why did we? It is horse manure. I know. It's boring to do the same image of the clock stopping at "1". Everyone's done it and McQuarrie wanted to do something different. Too bad it is just straight up lying instead of being a misdirect. Sorry, that second one gets an F.
I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO THINK ABOUT HENRY CAVILL. I have a very complex relationship with him. I want to like the guy, but he keeps doing things that make me dislike him. Before I go on my rant, I have to say that he's fine in this movie. He's a good bad guy and he finally feels like a guy who would wreck Ethan Hunt. We've needed that and the movie provides that, arm-cocking and magic beard included. He's a really good bad guy, but his cockiness does get a bit much. (He got hit by lightning and saved by Ethan without any gratitude.) But Henry Cavill is the bad Superman. I mean, he's okay in Justice League, despite how terrible that movie was. Also, every interview I've read from him makes him sound like the biggest tool in the world. I think the Mission: Impossible movies seem to attract actors who make bigger headlines than their characters are worth. I could barely watch Mission: Impossible III in the theater because it was immediately after Tom Cruise wouldn't stop jumping on a couch. (Okay, he did it...once.) Henry Cavill acts not because he appreciates the craft of acting. Oh no. That would be noble. He just likes money and every role he has chosen has been about getting him more of that money. He also seems super sexist based on some of the things he has said. So this is one of those situations where I have to like the character, but not the actor on a case-by-case basis. He does a fantastic job in this. The mustached Henry Cavill is better than the digitally removed mustached Henry Cavill. He's fantastic as this tank. It's weird because Superman in Justice League was supposed to be this scary guy who could just rip everyone apart, but I am actually more afraid of his character in Fallout. That's pretty impressive. I do like that the movie comes down to Ethan and Walker. I don't want to see him fight Solomon Lane. I am confused about the mystery character though. Is Walker the guy who came up with the lame idea that "the greater the suffering, the greater the peace?" It implied that at one point and that doesn't line up with his character at all. Solomon Lane actually seems like a crazy zealot of that philosophy, so it makes sense with his actions. I don't see Walker being that character. Also, so many people claim to have come up with that line that it just gets lost at the end.
You know who I want to care about, but actively don't? Ilsa Faust. I'm Team Julia and I'll always be Team Julia. This movie has the weirdest message about marriage. Like, Ilsa clearly is a placeholder for Julia and she's totally cool with that. Also, Ilsa and Ethan is entirely based on attraction. She's betrayed him so many times that there's no way that it is about personality or any kind of connection outside of both being attractive spies. The resolution to the Julia story is fine, I guess. It's as good as it can get because it is really flawed. There's no fixing it and, clearly, the characters aren't going to end up together. It just feels like a cop-out to have Julia okay with the relationship that Ethan provided. It doesn't feel real at all. She's entirely logical about the whole thing and just has a convenient husband. I don't know. It all feels very fake and very contrived to set Ethan up with Ilsa. I don't like it. Also, giving Ilsa the same dynamic that she had in the previous movie is cheap. She should be full on IMF in this one, so stretching out her allegiances is a poor decision. It's that whole thing of throwing yet another thing into the mix and this movie doesn't need it. She made her character turn in Rogue Nation. Rehashing it again means that none of this stuff is going to stick. That makes those choices weak.
At the end of the day, Fallout is a perfectly fine movie. It's even a movie that I enjoy and would watch a couple more times. But I can't help but see the flaws that Christopher McQuarrie brings to the mix. He wants there to be a gravity to the events and it just isn't there. I know that everyone always wants to make it personal for Ethan, but it doesn't have to be. A nuclear bomb is a nuclear bomb. It doesn't have to be about Ethan suffering. Also, Walker should have shot him in the head when he had the chance. Not doing that is just a thing of the movies.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.