Over the past (nearly) two decades the Mission Impossible franchise has been getting better with each installment, with the exception of the second film directed by John Woo, delivering thrills and excitement. In many ways, they rival the cinematic outings of 007.
With a crowded slate of spy movies this year — Spy, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Spectre, and the upcoming The Man from U.N.C.L.E. — Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation stands head and shoulders above its competitors; it sets the bar high for the next spy movies coming out later this year.

Director Christopher McQuarrie proves to be an undervalued asset to the blockbuster with his introduction to this thriving series, and Tom Cruise at age 53 shows no sign of slowing down. In the opening sequence, we see Ethan Hunt (Cruise) dangling outside of an airplane, just one of the exhilarating practical stunts and set pieces. This movie wastes no time in proving why the Mission: Impossible series is one of the most exciting franchises in the game today.


One sure sign of a memorable movie experience is how fondly the set pieces stay in your head after viewing. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation contains atleast a half dozen and all work brilliantly well and completely stand out on their own for different reasons, largely thanks to cinematographer Robert Elswit (Nightcrawler). The Vienna Opera House sequence is not only visually striking but it maintains a tension that even tops what Brian De Palma did in the first Mission: Impossible. There’s a thrilling extended underwater sequence that used ARRI’s new 6.5K Alexa 65 camera. It’s a prime example of the right people can still find ways to push the medium under tentpole projects. That’s not even half of what thrilled me in this welcome addition to the series.

There’s great character dynamic that adds fun and complexity to Ethan Hunt’s adventure. Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner and Alec Baldwin each have their own distinct personality traits and motivations that expand the story and give a complex yet amusing tone. Rebecca Ferguson as British agent Ilsa Faust, the most memorable female character in this series so far, stands on her own next to Ethan Hunt. With the exception of Philip Seymour Hoffman in Mission Impossible III, the villains in the series haven’t really been memorable or iconic; however, Sean Harris as Solomon Lane is creepy and cunning. He serves as an perfect foil to Hunt as the menacing head of the Syndicate.


Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation proves that there’s still plenty of excitement left to be had in this series. If the bar stays this high with everyone involved, I look forward to sharing more adventures with Ethan Hunt and his comrades in the near future.

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Sean McClannahan

Sean McClannahan

Sean McClannahan is a freelance film journalist and is the founder of Movie Time And Beyond. His passion for movies and pop culture knows no limits.