Tom Cruise Mission Impossible Series, Best to Worst and Why

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

  1. CorporalClegg

    CorporalClegg Admiral Admiral

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    I never thought of the films having any connection to the old series. Phelps was never intended to be a short-hand name drop that the audience could recognize as "Used to to be Important Guy". So calling it a character assassination completely misses the point.

    None the less, the first film is the biggest departure form the rest. At the end of the day it's still a noirish Brian De Palma thriller, with one of the most iconic set pieces of the 90s. It still holds up.

    The second film is beyond terrible.

    Abrams's outing is about on par with the original.

    Since then the franchise has fallowed a rather unique trend where each subsequent film has been better than the last. They've done a complete 180 on the typical sequelitis. The last couple are as good as any action film of the millennium. Perhaps even the best.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That's the thing, though -- the films have never made it clear whether they're a reboot or a sequel, so you can't blame people for seeing them as a sequel. In fact, the filmmakers originally tried to get Peter Graves to reprise Jim Phelps in the movie, but he refused because of what the film did with the character. So they evidently intended it to be a sequel. (And Graves's co-star Greg Morris clearly thought there was a connection, since he stormed out of the theater in rage when Phelps's treason was revealed.)

    And did you mean to say "never intended to be more than a shorthand name drop?" Even if that's true, one could still say it was in poor taste to make the film's villain a namesake for the series's hero. Clearly DePalma was going for a Shocking Plot Twist with the villain being the one we'd least suspect, but that doesn't mix very well with the fanbase's sentimentalism.
     
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  3. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Admiral Admiral

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    I think it’s the one film series that has almost gotten better with every outing. I was so-so on the first one, but other than the big setpieces - the heist and the Chunnel - I found it a bit dull.

    I preferred 2, maybe not a great film, but I thought the action was a lot better and I liked how Dougray Scott was a bit of a riff on Connery’s Bond - a Scottish spy called Sean! Plus we can thank that film for getting Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. I like Scott but I think he would’ve been miscast as Logan.

    I agree with @Christopher that III is where the series really found its way and it had a great mix of action, plot, character and humour. GP was even better.

    Rogue Nation is probably the only one that isn’t better than its predecessor, not because it was bad or even so-so, but simply because GP was so good. I’d still put RN ahead of the first 3 films.

    The “better than the one before it” pattern resurfaced with Fallout, which just blew me away. I’m really looking forward to the next 2 in the series. Part of me would like Cruise to do more roles like Jerry Maguire or Collateral but so long as the MI films are so entertaining, I can cope without his “serious” roles.

    So my ranking, best to worst is

    Fallout
    Ghost Protocol
    Rogue Nation
    III
    II
    M:I
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    One area in which the films are improving lately is gender representation. The M:I series has been quite bad at female inclusion on the whole. The first film had three female team members in the first act, then killed two of them and left only the hero's love interest, plus Vanessa Redgrave. The second failed the Bechdel Test on every possible level, with only one female character (aside from some background dancers) who was a sexual prize for the hero and villain to fight over. III made up for that by giving Michelle Monaghan a key heroic role as well as including Maggie Q and Keri Russell, though it killed off Russell and didn't have any interaction between the female leads. GP had one main female agent and a female villain, but with Monaghan reduced to a cameo, so a setback there. RN was back to having only one woman in the cast, so a further setback. But Fallout did much better, bringing back Rebecca Ferguson and Monaghan and adding Angela Bassett and Vanessa Kirby to the ensemble. And the next two films are reportedly bringing back Ferguson, Bassett, and Kirby and adding Hayley Atwell and Pom Klementieff.
     
  5. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps having Phelps turn into a baddy would have been better done if it were in a sequel rather than the first film, after all doing it in the first film just annoys fans of the show who came to see it and as for new fans who is this Phelps guy and why should we care he has turned? But if they still wanted Phelps in it why not for example have a double bluff were who we think is Phelps is not actually Phelps but someone masquerading as him.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't think that's an issue. The first two acts of the film did plenty to establish Phelps as a trusted mentor figure to Ethan Hunt, so that we'd understand Ethan's betrayal when the truth came out. Much the same kind of story has been told about brand-new characters many times before (e.g. Minority Report or Unbreakable). The film is perfectly understandable to new viewers who've never heard of Jim Phelps. The connection to the previous series was just a bonus, not a requirement for comprehension. That's the way it's supposed to work. You want your story to be accessible to everyone in the audience, not just those who have prior special knowledge. (Note how The Wrath of Khan introduces Khan with a long scene that explains in dialogue exactly who he is and why he hates Jim Kirk, rather than just expecting the audience to remember "Space Seed." Indeed, that scene kind of relies on the audience not remembering "Space Seed" well enough to know Chekov wasn't in it.) Prior knowledge can give extra weight or meaning to a story, or affect the way the viewer experiences it, but it should still be possible to get a complete story without it. To the veteran M:I viewer, the De Palma film is a story about someone we trusted turning out to be a traitor; to the novice, it's a story about someone Ethan Hunt trusted turning out to be a traitor. It works either way, it just works differently.
     
  7. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Of course. But it didn't have to be Jim Phelps. Why not invent a new character as the traitor? You avoid alienating fans of the series (even though, as I said, it's obviously impossible for the films to be in continuity with the series; still, it's the principle of the thing), and new viewers wouldn't care either way. It's win-win.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I'm not defending the choice to use Phelps. I agree that was a mistake. I'm just saying that you can follow the story as presented whether or not you're previously familiar with the character. It is incorrect to say the film did not do the work to establish Phelps's importance to new viewers. He just has an added layer of importance to veteran viewers, and that's where it becomes problematical.

    (Not only because of the treachery thing, but because the character bears no resemblance in personality to the TV version of Jim Phelps. As I think I mentioned, he comes off closer to Dan Briggs.)
     
  9. Starbreaker

    Starbreaker Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    1. Rogue Nation - the best action sequences by far. I really loved the opera and underwater scenes. It really doesn't get much better than that.

    2. Mission: Ipossible - hard to beat the classics. The suspended drop scene is iconic.

    3. Fallout - the casting is great. Some more great action scenes but not quite as memorable as my top 2.

    4. Ghost Protocol - great recovery after boring MI2 and MI3. Simon Pegg steals the show.

    5. MI:3 - everything should work on paper but it's just boring. I'm surprised they made another.

    6. MI:2 - the worst of the lot. It's just a bad film all around. I've seen it several times and just never like it.
     
  10. Garak

    Garak I'd Like to Speak to T'Bonz Premium Member

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    In a way this is a profoundly unfair question to ask

    We're talking about one of the greatest film franchises of all time, certainly top 3, that stars without a doubt the most exciting, most personable, most kind, most handsome, most daring, most dashing, most talented actor in the history of film

    It's like going to La Spinetta in Piedmont and being asked to choose between a 2009 Barbaresco, a 2011 Barolo or a 2012 Barbera. Despite subtle differences present within you know you're getting an outstanding product that is borderline erotic and will undoubtedly leave you with a satisfied smile on your face

    It's almost torturous to have to rank these marvelous masterpieces against one another, blasphemous even. An exercise that requires intense mental toughness but the gentle caress of a mother with her newborn child all at the same time

    So while in a way reluctant (but certainly well equipped) I suppose I am the foremost expert to be asked to participate in this challenging task, so allow me to indulge you

    First of all I'd like to inform you that Tom Cruise actually does all his own stunts. Not many people know this, but it's just another incredible facet of his already formidable, larger than life existence. Ok, now we can continue....

    1) Mission Impossible 2

    An absolute triumph of filmmaking. There's very little not to like about this movie, from its thrilling plane hijack sequence in the beginning which then whisks us immediately to Tom Cruise doing this:

    [​IMG]

    Breathtaking. Simply breathtaking

    From there Director John Woo takes us on an exhilarating journey. Thandie Newton does an excellent job in her role as Naya Nordoff-Hall in bringing down very underrated villain Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott). Also a special appearance by Anthony Hopkins! Even hired goon Hugh Stamp was great in this movie, thus further showing the insane depth this movie has. The real star of the show though is Tom Cruise's long hair, it looks absolutely stunning on Him and to be frank I wish He would rock it more often

    [​IMG]

    The entire movie is one huge, bulge inducing, thrill ride filled with memorable dialogue and exotic stunts before exotic stunts were really a thing. This is the movie that pioneered fucking motorcycle jousting for crying out loud:

    [​IMG]

    The only problem with this movie is the people who don't get it. It's supposed to be over the top cheesy and stylistic. Like, has anyone never seen one of John Woo's Hong Kong films? Anyways - I’m sorry, you're sorry.

    [​IMG]

    To be continued......
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2021
  11. Foxhot

    Foxhot Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    MI:2 is merely the world's longest hair commercial.....a disgrace to the hands-down Best Picture of 1996.
     
  12. cardinal biggles

    cardinal biggles Patron Saint of Dangerous Driving Premium Member

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    I'm curious what M:I-2 has to do with Dunston Checks In. :confused:
     
  13. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    Absolutely, GP is the only one that feels like the TV series and actually used its ensemble, see how Renner's been side lined ever since. Was he not interested, did they not know where to go with the character, or didn't Tom like the competition ;)

    Anyway my list.

    2nd: Mission Impossible, I've got over the Phelps thing now and appreciate it for what it is, a very good spy thriller and nothing like the rest!
    3rd: Ghost Protocol, as stated above, the one that most felt like the series, shame they didn't continue down that route.
    4th: Fallout, a very good action thriller, even if some bits did seem very familiar and it revolved around a tired stolen nuke trope.
    5th: MI3, a good solid film after the debacle of the second.
    6th: Rogue Nation, came out the same year as Spectre and suffered the exact same problem, front loaded it's set pieces and was left with a drab, uninspiring third act in London! (to be fair this could easily swap with MI3 because it isn't terrible)
    7th: MI2, dear lord a terrible film. I love Woo but this didn't work on any level, and Cruise's narcissism is off the charts given how much of the film the bad guy spends wearing a Tom Cruise mask :lol:

    Oh wait, I didn't say what my favourite Mission Impossible film was did I? ;)

    It's Sneakers

    Not sure why I can't post pics anymore, though been a while since I have I guess.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2021
  14. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Haven't seen them all, but I do remember the first couple being bad enough that I almost passed on what turned out to be much better follow-ups.

    I'd have to watch them again, but I definitely recall the first one being really bad.
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Okay, the first film seems pretty divisive. I guess it depends on what parts you focus on. It's certainly stylish and has impressive set pieces, but the characters are unlikeable and the plot logic falls apart badly if you think about it, in ways I discussed in my blog review some years back.
     
  16. Marc

    Marc Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    From reading various wikiepedia entries his role in the various Avengers films has impacted his availability for the M:I movies. Given they're all over and done with, we'll see what happens with M:I7 which I see has has had to shutdown production because of a positive test.

    'Mission: Impossible 7' Production Shuts Down After Positive Coronavirus Test | THR News (msn.com)
     
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  17. Aragorn

    Aragorn Admiral Admiral

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    Renner is no one's competition. He's successful doing his own thing, but we're long past the point where studios are trying to make him the next big thing.
     
  18. Marc

    Marc Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    Given that Cruise is the EP for the movies, if there was an ego/competition issue, Renner wouldn't have been hired in the first place.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Tom Cruise's ego seems to be limited to inventing new ways he can show off by risking his life with crazy stunts. In other respects, I gather that he's entirely professional and dedicated and good to work with and supportive of his colleagues, regardless of what he's like in his personal life.
     
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  20. Foxhot

    Foxhot Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Possibly Renner requested his name to be billed before the title, an honor which Cruise has contractually refused to share for some time.

    All of which can be easily faked or safely and less expensively done by professionals. I'm still not buying this does-his-own-stunts myth Paramount's been force-feeding us since at least 2000. Cruise is an excellent runner from VANILLA SKY on, but running's not a substitute for acting. It's doubly tragic as he has held his own in the past with other stars, in the bygone days when he shared pre-title billing with several legends.