Mission: Impossible – Fallout

It’s time to take a look at the latest addition to one of Tom’s most well-known and well-loved franchises, Mission: Impossible!   We’re huge fans of the Mission series, and Fallout has the honor of being our first ever review of a Mission movie!

Smartass Summary: Tom Cruise jumps out of a spaceship.

Slightly less smartass summary: Ethan Hunt has absolutely NO.  DAMN. CHILL.

Ok ok, REAL summary:  The IMF saves the day, despite the CIA, the Bad Guys, and the forces of gravity!!

Overall opinion: Buttered Popcorn is of two minds about this movie!  On the one hand, we enjoyed the intense action sequences.  The stunts were heart-pounding, and (spoiler alert) the bad guy went down hard, as well he should have!  But on the other hand, we have a few issues with the plot, and a few more issues with some character motivations, that clouded our ability to fully enjoy this film.  That’s why our First Impressions post included the fact that we noticed some things that didn’t quite work, right at our first viewing. But first, we’ll talk about about the parts we liked best about the film!

Haven’t seen this movie recently?  Fix that, STAT! Click the image below for more information:

Now let’s get started!

***Spoilers beyond this point!***

Fun Moments:

One of the things we love most about the Mission: Impossible movie franchise is that, no matter how dire the situation may be, the films never lose their sense of humor.  Here are some fun moments that the M:I team brought us in their latest release.

The Infamous Bathroom scene: We know we talked about this scene in our First Impressions post, but it bears repeating.  This scene WAS AMAZING! It was so much fun to watch. Everything about it was absolutely perfect – figuring out that Walker is definitely the “hammer” of the group, Ilsa’s badass re-introduction to Ethan’s adventures – what’s not to love?  That’s right, NOTHING! NOTHING is not to love about this scene.

Ethan is insane: We love how many different times somebody decided that Ethan was just plain crazy.  Of course, we already knew this about him – he’s driven! He’s like a freight train, and nobody is about to slow him down, which is what we love so much about him.  But watching the people who are new to his particular methods learn about Ethan is absolutely hilarious!

Ilsa seeing Ethan run headlong after a helicopter, followed by Benji helpfully telling her, “I find it’s best not to look!”?  Priceless! Ethan appearing out of nowhere inside a helicopter, shocking the hell out of Henchman #5? YESS!!! Walker basically deciding Ethan is a lunatic when he notices Ethan trying to ram him?  THAT’S RIGHT, jerkface! You never should have messed with a guy this crazy. Also, definitely laughed out loud in the theater. 😀

Cool things about this movie:

The Action

Anybody who has seen this movie will tell you – the action is UNBELIEVABLE.  It’s exciting, and we literally jumped and grabbed each other when Ethan fell off the line under the helicopter.  If you like heart-pounding action that is well-balanced with humor and gives you a chance to catch your breath without making you bored – this movie will do the trick for you!  We also suggest watching this on the largest screen possible (or sitting up close, like we love to do) so that you can get that gut-tingling effect when Ethan is scaling the cliff face!

Angela Bassett

Even though she is the new internal antagonist, there’s just nothing we don’t like about this woman.  Okay, we kinda don’t like that Director Sloan doesn’t trust Ethan as far as she can throw him, but Ms. Bassett plays the role BEAUTIFULLY.  She was a joy to watch! And we were impressed that she didn’t IMMEDIATELY believe Ethan was a traitor when Walker tried to convince her of that lie.  It brought us joy that she didn’t just put out a kill order – she took it up with Hunley first.

Director Hunley’s character arc

We really enjoy the way that Director Hunley went from being a major antagonist to a staunch defender of Ethan Hunt and the IMF in general.  We know that most of this change happened during Rogue Nation, but it was really wonderful to see that Hunley still trusts Ethan and the IMF.  He not only defended them to the committee at the end of Rogue Nation, but he now defends them every day, to nay-sayers in the CIA (including his replacement as CIA Director, Agent Sloan).

Hunley still trusts Ethan and the IMF.

There’s something beautiful about how much trust he has in Ethan, and how he declares that Ethan made the right decision when it came down to the choice between saving his team member, or saving the plutonium.  We LOVE that he and Ethan are not just allies, but friends, and we wish we could see more of this great relationship. (NO COMMENT, CHRIS MCQUARRIE. NO. COMMENT.)

Not-So-Cool things about this movie:

Anyone who knows ONE thing about your lovely hosts at Buttered Popcorn, knows that we love Tom Cruise.  I mean, we LOVE him! We have a website dedicated to reviewing his movies and his alone. And if anybody knows a second thing about us, it’s that we love Mission: Impossible!  The Mission franchise is the key that tipped the balance and made us fall head over heels for Tom!

That’s why it hits us right in the gut to have to bring up the fact that the plot left much to be desired in our humble true and correct opinion. Here were our biggest issues with the storyline, and a couple of (possibly nit-picky) character notes that jumped us out of the film, throwing off our suspension of disbelief.

Similarity to Ghost Protocol:

We understand that Mission: Impossible is a franchise based on a television show.  There will (and should) be some call-backs and some homage-making inherent in such a franchise.  But recall is one thing. Carbon copying on fancier paper is another. (And, in all honesty, Ghost Protocol is only the movie before last.  It’s not old enough to be recalled, it should be allowed to stand in its own glorious light.)

We also understand that certain elements are expected to appear in a Mission Impossible movie.  There’s going to be a fast vehicle chase. There’s going to be amazing tech, and there will probably be a fair share of explosives and timers.  But the type of similarities we noticed were so specific that it pushed us out of the film several times to see them. Here are some plot elements that we feel push the plot too close to the previous movie for comfort.

Plot Element: Ghost Protocol Fallout
Villain wants to set off one or more nuclear weapons to spread massive suffering and destruction, so that peace can follow. Check Check
Julia is out of Ethan’s life in the beginning of the movie, but he has been keeping track of her, and by the end, they have the chance to see each other and bid each other farewell (in some way). Check Check
IMF’s initial mission is to make sure the means of detonating a nuclear weapon do not get into the hands of the villain.  However, the first mission fails, and a new plan must be created to fix that first failure. Check Check
The bad guy is known by a code name first, and later identified as a government employee Check Check
IMF team explains the plan while riding in an open air jeep across vast terrain, while the newest member of the team questions everyone’s sanity. Check Check
While one or more nuclear weapons are literally counting down to detonation, some members of the IMF must make sure the signal can be transmitted to disable the bomb, while Ethan must go after the detonator (and the villain) on his own. Check Check

It’s true that the helicopter chase between Walker and Ethan was breathtaking, and Ethan ramming his vehicle directly into Walker’s made us cheer for the insane drive that burns inside our intrepid hero.  And it’s true that Fallout featured low-tech bombs on the ground (two of them, no less!), while Ghost Protocol had satellites and government-grade nuclear warheads. But we felt that those differences were minor compared to major similarities like the villains having the same motive, and the mechanics of the climax being essentially identical.

We love Ghost Protocol with the fire of a thousand suns.  While we’re thrilled that any movie of Tom’s is receiving such wildly positive reviews, it honestly upset us a little to hear people declaring that Fallout is the best in the franchise, when many major elements of the main storyline were almost exactly like the main storyline of Ghost Protocol.

Character issues:

Here are a couple of issues we had with the way characters were portrayed that interfered with our ability to suspend belief.

The White Widow’s origins

Vanessa Kirby’s character, the White Widow, is supposed to be Max’s daughter.  Max! You remember her, right? She’s the powerful, enigmatic arms dealer that Mr. Phelps planned to sell his information to in the very first movie.

The only thing is, Kirby looks like she’s about 25 years old in this movie. We met Max 22 years ago, and the actress who played her character was 59 at the time.  Even if we are to believe that she had a child very late in life, and Kirby’s character is older than she looks, are we to believe that the expert arms dealer who shielded her identity as carefully as any secret agent, dominated the black market arms industry, and tangled with government spies and the worst of the world’s criminals, had a toddler at home?

Who was watching the baby while Max was on the train trying to steal the NOC list? Even if we assume that The White Widow is meant to be the same age as Vanessa Kirby, that means Max would have been 51 when she gave birth – an age where the average woman is going through menopause, and a time at which she was basically at the height of her criminal career.

Maybe you’re saying, “why not?  Who’s to say she couldn’t be all those things and a mother, too?”  Far be it from us to deny the awesomeness of criminal mastermind moms, but the age thing threw us off, plain and simple.  An easy solution might have been to just say that the Widow was Max’s granddaughter – or to make her a completely unique character with no connection to previous characters at all.

Code Name: Julia?

Julia is still called… Julia.  Ethan was forced to fake her death to keep her safe.  She was moved to a new state, and (presumably) given a new identity.  Ethan let people believe that he had been disavowed for going on an unauthorized killing spree over her.  The Secretary of Defense kept the secret of her rescue even from his Chief Analyst – his right hand with the IMF.  Ethan remained in prison for several years “on one condition. NO ONE could know she was alive.” She’s in the deepest of deep cover, because the worst people on earth might be after her husband, a member of the most secret agency of all secret agencies. But… when Ethan sees her in front of him, they’re interrupted by her new husband calling her… “Julia!”

Um.  What the heck?  When Walker showed Ethan Julia’s picture, we immediately wondered how he could possibly have found her.  After all, only Ethan, Brandt, the former Secretary of Defense (and, apparently Luther) knew that Julia was still alive.  It wouldn’t be common knowledge in the CIA, because it was a CIA agent that compromised her and kidnapped her in the first place.  But if she’s going around being called Julia, we suppose it’s not much of a stretch that the bad guys found her.

Not Enough Tech

Maybe some people think that the technology in Mission movies is an unnecessary element – a gimmick that we can do without.  Not Buttered Popcorn! One of the best things about the IMF is the awesome technology they use to get the job done (and how in the end, it’s the people who make it all work).  It’s true of the films and of the original show as well, and it’s an integral part of what Mission: Impossible is all about. There was not much tech in this movie. We got to see a tiny self-adhesive camera, the HALO jumpsuits, a wrist-band ID app, and… that was about it (aside from the bombs, of course). Maybe that was intentional, but we felt that it left a bit of a hole in the movie.

Favorite Quotes:

  • “So.  How is he?” (Julia).  “Oh, you know. Same old Ethan.” (Luther)
  • “Please… don’t make me laugh.” (Ethan) ← LOVE this part so much!
  • “I am the storm.” (Yes, we know we mentioned this in the first impressions post, but SERIOUSLY.  Does it get any cooler than this quote? No. No, it does not. As a matter of fact, the rest of our favorites are coming back, too!)
  • “How did I do?” (Benji) “I never had any doubt.” (Ethan)
  • “Can you still make a mask?” (Walker) “I need a FACE to make a mask!” (Ethan)
  • “Hope is not a strategy!” (Walker to Ethan). “Oh, you must be new.” (Ilsa to Walker)
  • “I’m working on it!” ~ Ethan
  • “I’M JUMPING OUT A WINDOW!” (Ethan) “Oh, sorry! I had you on 2-D. Good luck, then!” (Benji)

Favorite Character:

Ethan Hunt!  Come on, we know you expected that one, right?  There really aren’t enough words in any language to express how many ways we love Ethan Hunt.  We have known him since we were teenagers, and he has never EVER let us down. In fact, we have so much love for Ethan that we haven’t been able to review the other Mission: Impossible movies yet, because we can’t figure out how to do them proper justice.  But when Fallout came to theaters, we couldn’t delay it any longer. So, Fallout has the honor of being our VERY first Mission: Impossible review, and our first try at telling you how many ways we absolutely cannot live without Ethan Matthew Hunt.

How do we love thee, Ethan?  Let us count the ways!

  1. He’s caring. We’ve seen this many times – the way he almost cries when he realizes that Claire is a traitor.  (AND when he realizes that Jim is a traitor). The way he hates the fact that he has mistakenly recruited Nyah under false pretenses.  The way he moves mountains to get his wife back, and the way he keeps watch over her ever after. Even the way he makes sure to get Bogdan out of prison so he won’t be harmed after Ethan leaves shows how wonderfully caring he is. His caring nature is highlighted even more in this movie.  He takes the time to save the officer who interrupts their extraction of Lane, and he is moved nearly to tears when he realizes that Julia has been dragged into danger again because of her connection to him.
  2. He’s smart. There’s something so alluring about this man who can think his way out of the worst trouble.  He knows people, he knows his craft, and even when it looks like he’s just jumping headlong into danger, he has already thought up plan B, plan C, plan D and plan E.  And if plan E fails, Ethan is smart enough to come up with something on the fly that would beat most people’s week-long planning sessions.
  3. He. Does. Not. Give. Up. It doesn’t matter how dire the situation is, Ethan WILL NOT give up. If there’s any way to save a situation, he will find it, and if there isn’t a way, he will make one. That’s why it was possible for him to risk so many lives to save Luther’s.  Because he KNEW there was another way to stop the Apostles, he just had to find it.

There are SO many more reasons why we love Ethan, but we have to save some for the other five movies!  (Bet you can guess who our favorite character will be for each one…)

Pic Spam!

Here’s a bunch of pics we liked!

This chase was AMAZING!
So. Deep. We waited a long time to see what this was about!
This scene was beautiful – HUGE payoff, loved it to BITS!
Okay, just… yeah. The intensity of this is 10,000%
The absolute perfection of Tom Cruise running, ladies and gentlemen.
Where it all went wrong. But where is face is SO BEAUTIFUL.

Watchability level: HIGH

This is Mission: Impossible.  We had some serious problems with the plot, but we are not going to lie – we will NEVER not watch any Mission movie at least once.  Ethan doing the Ethan thing? Crushing the bad guys, sometimes with the strength of his will alone? Yeah. Count us in. And if you’re not like us, and you didn’t spend the last six years watching Ghost Protocol over and over again, you might not have even noticed the many similarities, and they might not have had a chance to throw you out of the zone for Fallout.

Re-watchability level: MED

We feel a little tiny bit insane saying such a thing about a Mission movie!  But despite the amazing action, and the fantastic performances from our favorite characters, the issues we had with the plot reduced the movie’s re-watchability for us.

Final Verdict: Mission Impossible: Fallout is action-packed excitement!  Action-packed excitement is good! If you haven’t done so already, get on out there and check this movie out!  The movie may not be perfect in our eyes, but Tom and his team set out to make an entertaining movie, and they absolutely delivered! So!  Melt that butter, pop that popcorn, and have yourself a heart-pounding, fist-clenching, gut-tingling good time.

What did you think of Fallout? Drop us a line and let us know. We’d love to hear from you!

2 thoughts on “Mission: Impossible – Fallout”

  1. I loved every second of Fallout and I saw it 3 times since its release! Ethan is my favorite secret agent unlike the overrated Bond because the former is willing to sacrifice himself just to save the world and the people he loves. I’ve seen all the six Mission Impossible films but Fallout takes the cake and I can’t imagine anyone else replacing Tom because he’s the heart and soul of this successful franchise.
    Thanks for the review. 🙂

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