Tom Cruise Mission Impossible Series, Best to Worst and Why

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by valkyrie013, May 6, 2021.

  1. valkyrie013

    valkyrie013 Commodore Commodore

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    Hello!
    Read this article today on scifi wire, the 15th anniversary of MI 3
    https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/why-y...-debut-mission-impossible-iii-a-second-chance
    Now to me, this is the absolute Worst movie of the series (JJ Directed it.. soooo)
    Writing was Blah, acting by the supporting character was blah, villian was blah..
    Only good thing was the introduction of Benji (Simon Pegg)
    They had Hunt marry, then the next few movies just ignore it and have him divorce.. so another character like Batman that has no social life.

    So my list of Best to Worse:
    Rogue Nation
    Mission Impossible 1
    Mission Impossible 2
    Ghost Protocal
    Fallout
    MI 3

    They've been all good except 3, its like all the movies were like 7-8-9 out of 10, MI3 was a 2.

    Thoughts? Comments?
    Looking forward to MI7 and 8?
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Wow, I disagree profoundly. The second film is the absolute worst, mindless and superficial and sexist. It feels like a wish-fulfillment fantasy that the immature Ethan Hunt doodled in his notebook in spy school. The first film isn't much better, a paranoid thriller that exists mainly to deconstruct its source material in a very disrespectful way and whose climax totally falls apart if you analyze its logic. I consider the first two to be failed pilots of a series that didn't really have a proper start until the third film, which was the first time Ethan Hunt was portrayed as a human being with actual characterization (we learned more about him as a person in the first four minutes of M:I:III than in the previous four hours), and which marvelously upended the sexism of the previous film by inverting the gender roles of who saves whom in the climax.

    I'd say Ghost Protocol is my favorite, followed closely by M:I:III. They both have excellent characterization and drama, without which action is pointless; but GP is also a brilliantly structured and funny film, just as much as Brad Bird's animated efforts. GP is also the only film in the franchise that manages to feel like the TV series it's named after, focusing mainly on the ensemble out in the field carrying out one clever stratagem after another, with several of their gambits adapted from ones used in the show. (Well, the first act of the original film replicated the approach of the TV show, but then blew it all up.)

    The two McQuarrie films to date have both been extremely solid action thrillers, though I felt Rogue Nation had less effective character work. I really liked Fallout, though, for the way it stressed that Ethan's priority is protecting innocents rather than just killing the bad guys. And I like it that they've finally settled on a continuing cast and have managed to hold onto a female lead for more than one film.

    So I guess my ranking would be: IV, III, VI, V, ........I, ........II.
     
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  3. cardinal biggles

    cardinal biggles Patron Saint of Dangerous Driving Premium Member

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    This irrational dislike that folks have for J.J. Abrams (The Rise of Skywalker notwithstanding) really borders on silly. I still haven't seen the last two installments, but I'm inclined to agree with Christopher about the first four.

    My biggest beef with M:I-2 is that the film is partially responsible for Star Trek Nemesis being a giant bag of shit — if M:I-2 and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider hadn't needed last-minute uncredited rescue edits by a certain Mr. Stuart Baird, then Paramount wouldn't have owed him a directing gig, and we might have gotten a director who could have tried to salvage something decent from John Logan's clusterfuck of a script.
     
  4. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The only problem - let me repeat that, the ONLY problem - I have with the Cruise M:I films is what they did to Jim Phelps. And no, I'm not gonna fucking put that in spoiler code, it's been too long.

    At first, I heard that Tom was actually going to play Jim. I wouldn't have had a problem with that. I mean, if there's a reason they had to take a giant dump all over the memory of that character (no wonder Peter Graves was pissed! :lol: ) and come up with Ethan Hunt, I'm not aware of it...

    That said, I guess there's an easy out: since a central tenet of the first film is characters wearing disguises, I suppose the Jim Phelps that existed in that film could have been somebody else posing as Jim, the real one presumably murdered (or at least captured). That's my headcanon, anyway.

    And yes, I'm well aware that the Cruise films are obviously not in the same continuity as the original series. And I don't care. Jim Phelps is Jim Phelps, regardless of timeline. There are some characters you just don't assassinate.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2021
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It's strange how the consensus about Abrams and his work seemed to be mostly positive until he did a Trek movie, whereupon people suddenly started insisting they'd hated him all along. It's a bizarre overreaction. I found Spielberg's E.T. to be one of the most awful, overrated films ever, but I still liked his Indiana Jones films quite a bit. I wasn't a fan of how Tim Burton handled Batman, but I love Edward Scissorhands and several of his other films. Criticizing a specific work doesn't require denouncing its creator's entire career.

    As for Abrams, I'm not crazy about how fanciful and illogical his films tend to be, but what I appreciate is how grounded they are in character and emotion and humanity. That's what he brought to M:I and Ethan Hunt. He made Ethan a human being for the first time, gave him a life beyond the spy game and real, adult relationships with other people. And of course, beyond directing III, he's done quite well as the producer of the later movies, working with Brad Bird and Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise to make M:I a consistently strong franchise, in keeping with his experience as a TV showrunner.

    Before the Bad Robot era, what was notable about M:I as a film series is that it was essentially an anti-series. The first three movies were defined more by their respective directors' styles than by any common thread among them -- the first film was a standard Brian DePalma paranoid thriller, the second was a standard over-the-top John Woo actionfest, and the third was Alias: The Movie. I considered them a series in name only; they were more like three unrelated reinventions of the same premise, with the only common elements being Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames (who was barely in the second one), and the overall title and tropes. It's gotten much more unified from III onward, a consistent series at last, though its installments still reflect their directors' distinctive styles. Yet with McQuarrie becoming the regular director, even that has now changed.
     
  6. BillJ

    BillJ Canon Warrior Premium Member

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    That really rubbed me the wrong way.
     
  7. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, II is the least enjoyable. But the others have all been very entertaining.

    And, agreed about Phelps turning. That was character assassination.

    Although, that said, I recall reading somewhere that the idea that Phelps would turn against the IMF was the premise of some sequel idea under development, but never produced, or maybe a spin-off or novel series. I can't recall what that was. Maybe someone can confirm, refute, or clarify.
     
  8. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I have never heard of anything like that.

    As I said, I don't know why Tom didn't simply play Jim Phelps from the get-go. I mean, every M:I fan knows who Jim is, so it would seem to be a win-win situation. I guess TPTB must have been too lazy to come up with a "hook" less pathetic than the one they actually used...

    Although, if a future film involves the return of the real Jim, I'd be up for that! :techman:
     
  9. cardinal biggles

    cardinal biggles Patron Saint of Dangerous Driving Premium Member

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    This is probably sacrilege, but I never watched an episode of the original Mission: Impossible until probably sometime after the third film was released, so I didn't have the great emotional attachment to the Jim Phelps character that everyone else did. I completely understand why Peter Graves and tons of fans were pissed, but it just didn't bother me that much.
     
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  10. Aragorn

    Aragorn Admiral Admiral

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    Too late to go back now, but they could've made Kittridge into Phelps and the team leader someone else like Paris. Then they could've brought back Peter Graves and Leonard Nimoy.

    Easiest solution to the whole Jim Phelps thing is to give him a son also named Jim in a future movie. Then you have a character who comes with instant baggage.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Honestly, Phelps never really had much of a character, nor did any of the other cast members. Bruce Geller preferred to keep them blank slates, defined solely by the roles they adopted each week. Although there were some more character-driven stories in season 1 (before Graves came on board) and season 5 (which shook things up to revitalize the show, though it didn't last). Still, Graves made Jim a likeable guy even if we hardly knew anything about him.

    M:I wasn't really a show about emotion; it was more a procedural, focused on the meticulous, step-by-step work of carrying out the intricate con games and heists. Still, I'm sure that the generation that grew up with M:I (which I'm sort of on the trailing end of) would've seen these guys as heroes and wouldn't have liked to see that torn down.

    What I regret are all the people who say "I was offended by what the first film did to Phelps, so I've never watched another film in the series." The films from III onward have almost nothing to do with the first two. They're from a completely different creative team and have not followed up on the first two films' plots or concepts at all, aside from a couple of Easter-egg nods in the McQuarrie films. So I wish people wouldn't hold the first film's mistakes against the much better, almost totally unconnected later films.

    Anyway, I read an article a while back claiming that the next film features characters named Rollin Hand, Paris, and Lambert, which would make them rebooted versions of Martin Landau's, Leonard Nimoy's, and Lesley Ann Warren's characters from the original. That's still unverified, but if it turns out to be true, it would mean that the film series has been a reboot all along (or at least has been retconned into one), and Voight's Phelps was never the same person as Graves's. That's already been hinted at by Hunley's line in Rogue Nation that the IMF was only 40 years old, which if true would mean that it wasn't even founded until a year or two after the TV series ended.
     
  12. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Isn't that pretty much self-evident?

    I don't see any way that these films could possibly be in continuity with the series. Not just because of what they did to Jim, but also the obvious age and technology differences.
     
  13. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    But the real question is where is Daniel Briggs? ;)
     
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  14. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ I think I might hazard a guess that the proportion of M:I fans who even remember Briggs at all*, is roughly the same as Dark Shadows fans who know that an entire season went by before Barnabas Collins came along. ;)

    *bonus points if they remember that Briggs is Adam Schiff from L&O
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I felt that Jon Voight's "Phelps" was a lot more like Briggs in personality -- aloof, tough, and no-nonsense rather than charming and avuncular. It might've been better if they'd called him Briggs instead.
     
  16. Aragorn

    Aragorn Admiral Admiral

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    Briggs is warning Ethan Hunt about the IMF's most notorious villains..... mob lawyers.

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. cardinal biggles

    cardinal biggles Patron Saint of Dangerous Driving Premium Member

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    ^Lawyers tied up with The Syndicate? ;)
     
  18. valkyrie013

    valkyrie013 Commodore Commodore

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    I for one didn't watch The Old Mission Impossible Series in till 2015 give or take. really enjoyed it so back in 96 I didn't really have any emotional attachment to Jim Phelps.
    I would like to see over the next two or three or however many left in the series a gradual hand over to someone else that is not Tom Cruise.. Rollin hand , Paris, any of the other ones
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I've thought for a while now that they should promote Ethan to the "Secretary" role and let Rebecca Ferguson take over as the lead character. Why bring in a new character when they've already got a perfect successor?
     
  20. Aragorn

    Aragorn Admiral Admiral

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    If they wanted to bring in characters from the TV show, they already have a Carter, Paula Patton from Ghost Protocol.