Movie Review: Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

If you take a look at this years biggest films, you have some definite progress for how women are depicted in cinema. I’d say Mad Max: Fury Road, Trainwreck, and Inside Out all have made substantial progress in the ‘women can be badasses’ category. Meanwhile, Bryce Dallas Howard runs from a T-Rex in Jurassic World… with her heels on. And she’s supposedly the strongest female character in the years biggest movie, which is now the third highest grossing film of all time. So, does America prefer their women… shall we say… damsels (in distress)? Hopefully not, because as Ilsa in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Rebecca Ferguson is one fierce bitch. And that’s completely OK.

One of the strongest reasons Mission Impossible works is because the film relies heavily on Ferguson, who is not depicted in any way as being a love interest for Ethan Hunt, even though his friends just assume Ethan is falling for her. They never make out, or sleep with each other. In the end, she is not his girlfriend, or his wife. They remain colleagues, and that’s OK.

There’s something that’s missing a bit in Rogue Nation, and I think it’s both a little bit of fun, and the grandiose main event from Ghost Protocol. The “tower heist” from MI4 is a great sequence, and in MI5 the best sequence is really used in the beginning. The rest of the film is smart, but the big heist is nowhere near as complicated as Tom Cruise swinging from one of the tallest buildings in the world.

Mission Impossible has followed in the footsteps of the James Bond reboot, in that it has gotten decidedly darker, smarter, and has consistently sought out a smart script for every entry since MI3. Ever since JJ Abrams graced the franchise with his presence, Mission Impossible feels like something that’s OK for film buffs to enjoy. Yes, you can now be an admirer of Fellini and Tom Cruise. Because popcorn films still have their place in cinema, and the best ones are remembered for not dumbing it down for their audience.

Featuring the same familiar supporting cast, and Tom Cruise in an ageless Ethan Hunt role, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation follows in the (ahem) impossible footsteps of Ghost Protocol, which took the series to new heights. It is a daunting task to try and top the fourth entry, and I’m not sure it did. It falls short, but only by a few fractions. It still manages to be one of the most entertaining films of the year, and a bright spot in an already memorable summer.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. Come for Tom Cruise. Stay for Rebecca Ferguson.