The next report card is for the fifth film in the story of the best spy for the Impossible Mission Force, Ethan Hunt, entitled Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation.
Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation—directed by Christopher McQuarrie; written by Christopher McQuarrie (screenplay and story), Drew Pearce (story), and Bruce Geller (television series); starring Tom Cruise (Ethan Hunt), Jeremy Renner (William Brandt), Simon Pegg (Benji Dunn), Rebecca Ferguson (Ilsa Faust), Ving Rhames (Luther Stickell), Sean Harris (Solomon Lane) and Alec Baldwin (Alan Hunley).
Ethan Hunt is the same as ever, so that's either a positive or a negative to you (I've heard some criticize the character for being too wooden in comparison to James Bond while others think he's awesome because he's less of a jerk than 007). While I prefer Bond and it's not even a close race, I like the Ethan Hunt character precisely because he's a bit of a change of pace and not just an attempt to clone Bond. He's got a bit of a rougher edge to him this time around, though, which is another good thing. In the first Mission: Impossible, he never even fires a gun, but I can't imagine being wrong in stating that he kills more people in this film than any others. Hunt remains the standout boyscout in many ways despite this, and I appreciated that.
William Brandt is a bit of a wet blanket again, similar to his role in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. While that's okay and I still like his character overall, I wouldn't be surprised if someone considered him their least favorite character of the bunch.
That is, of course, especially because there's the two comedic techies—Benji Dunn and Luther Stickell—who steal nearly every scene they're in. I've liked both of these characters in all of the films and I'm particularly fond of them actually using Stickell, since he was missed from the previous entry.
Ilsa Faust is a capable agent who has loyalties, makes tough decisions, and comes off genuine as well as pretty bad ass. I don't expect to see her back, as this franchise likes to employ new women in each installment, but this is a great trend with her and Paula Patton's character beforehand of beautiful and admirable women.
As far as the villains go, Solomon Lane is creepy, cold and calculating. Awesome. Vintor is...meh, a henchman. He's not bad, but he's nothing too memorable. The stereotypical bureaucratic enemies that get in the way are pretty standard and also nothing out of the ordinary, yet that's not a negative mark. I'm very happy that the temptation to reveal a certain character as a villain was ignored, but I won't say who.
Movies like this aren't "actors' films" by any means, so it's really just a matter of whether you're able to suspend your disbelief enough to have fun, which I did. I really don't have all that much more to say for this section other than to point out that Tom Cruise is crazy for doing a lot of these stunts, but it shows his dedication.
VISUALS (FX, MAKEUP, COSTUMES, SETS): B+
It was a breath of fresh air to not see a 3D movie, as even though I go for those all the time over the regular versions, I often don't see much of a reasoning for it. The opera set was nice, the plane sequence was impressive, and I really have no complaints.
MUSIC & SOUND: B
Outside of the main theme, the score doesn't ring a bell in a way where I'll be wanting to get the soundtrack. That main theme, though, is so good. Normally, I don't have much to say in terms of sound design, but there was a sequence at the end when I particularly noticed just how much of a punch each gunshot had and when glass would shatter on a car, it was very crisp. Very cool.
TONE (ACTION, ROMANCE, COMEDY): B+
ACTION: The action in this isn't as over the top in too many ways compared to some things seen in other films, but I actually prefer that. Every action sequence was fun to watch and kept my attention rather than dragging on for too long or coming off unnecessary.
COMEDY: Not too many laughs to be distracting, but just enough to bring some levity to relieve tension. Nice.
ROMANCE: There really isn't any romance in this film, but that's okay. These are meant to be action films with a little bit of comedy peppered throughout, not date movies.
FINAL GRADE: B+
You don't go into a Mission: Impossible movie and expect something different than what this is. I enjoyed myself from start to finish, even though it's not something that will be winning awards or studied in film class. It's not just mindless action, though, as those movies tend to bore me, so don't write the film off entirely as nothing but explosions. All in all, this series keeps getting better with each new movie, and while this was only the second that I've seen in theaters, I'm sure to be watching M:I 6 (wait a second...MI6? Hm....) as well.