Mission Impossible – Fallout does not disappoint as Tom Cruise leads another outing for the franchise. The story of the film launches when Ethan Hunt and company cannot keep their hands on three spheres of plutonium. This leads them on chase around the globe to recollect the missing plutonium and prevent multiple nuclear attacks. The story links back to Rogue Nation’s villain, Solomon Lane – ex-British Intelligence turned evil mastermind. Lane returns as the architect behind the movie’s nuclear conflict.
Ethan Hunt is a Superhero Not an Anti-Hero
Within a cinematic landscape filled with heroes questioning their morality and villains with good intentions, Fallout only for a moment calls into question Hunt’s authority. The value of avoiding anti-heroism is Hunt remains good, all good. Within this, he is able to operate without the audience wavering their loyalty. We are in, all in.
The post-modern cinematic pillar of anti-heroism has stemmed from a culture that is questioning how one could possibly be all good or all evil. We, as an audience, have supported questionable heroes who are rectifying wrongs of the past like Captain America’s Winter Solider, Bucky Barnes. Ethan Hunt, though, has always remained on the right side, though he lives without law. His organization, the IMF is in a struggle for validity with the CIA throughout the film to show why they are still essential to global security. Hunt’s team proves everyone wrong by the end. The IMF is, by design, outside of the law in order to do anything, be anyone and move through the world as anonymously as possible. Through this, the team needs to be morally superior in order to qualify their existence. In doing so, our characters rise above the law, but do not break too many rules. Hunt makes an effort to save an injured cop caught in the crossfire, but doesn’t have hesitation in killing those on his tail in a chase. There is a moral compass that has wavered in heroes over the last decade of blockbuster summer flicks, but Hunt’s never does as he knows he is in the right and any dark side he may have will be used in support of the mission.
Yes, He Did His Own Stunts
Cruise leads the film with full commitment to the universe. His acting prowess is on display, but so is his stunt work. Every trope from an action movie is packed into the film that never stops moving. The film includes a motorcycle chase, car chase, foot race, boating, helicopter fighting, rock climbing and skydiving. The majority of which is performed by Cruise himself. Because the audience is aware of Cruise’s insistence on doing the majority of the stunt work, they became that much more hooked on every chase, fight, flight, and fall. During the film, there were several times when the filled theater shared an audible gasp.
Will they win?
Another strength of this film is that it is a masterclass in creating, building and sustaining tension. A film like this summer’s Ocean’s Eight, struggled to push their characters to the breaking point for their own mission and left an audience feeling that robbing from the Met was easy. Conversely, Fallout shows the blood, sweat, and sacrifice required to accept these impossible missions.
Part of keeping up with heroism means that there should be little doubt about the team winning. The twists and turns are mostly surprising and rarely predictable, with the team still end up pushing it to the “usual” last second to save the day. An anti-hero story may leave the ending more unfinished or leave the audience with a moral dilemma, because so many films do this now, it feels like a weakness of the film not to share a moral theme beyond good wins over evil. Yet, this film, born in the shadow of the heroes of the past and an example of heroism for the future, leaves you satisfied and wanting more.
Want to know what else came out in theaters this weekend? Check out our weekend overview.