The Mission: Impossible franchise is one of the greatest franchises in cinematic history. Is that a bit of a hyperbolic statement? Not if you’ve seen these movies. Since it’s start over 20 years ago, the franchise has only gotten better, with only a slight hiccup early on. This is a franchise that only ups itself every movie. It also solidifies the fact that Tom Cruise is the greatest movie star of our time. This week, the latest entry in the Mission: Impossible franchise, Fallout, comes out, one of my most anticipated movies of the year. So in honor of that, here’s my ranking of the Mission: Impossible movies.
5 – MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 (John Woo, 2000)
Watching Mission: Impossible 2, or M:I 2, is like watching a Roger Moore James Bond movie. Moore is arguably the worst James Bond and his films are arguably the worst in series as well (it really doesn’t get worse than For Your Eyes Only). What made Moore’s movies so bad was that it did nothing that was great about Connery’s Bond films, which are arguably some of the best. M:I 2 does none of the fun stuff of the original film. Less fun, less masks, an awful villain, and the most boring action sequences in the entire franchise. This is really the only bad movie in the franchise.
4 – MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE (Brian DePalma, 1996)
It’s weird to think that Brian DePalma, famed auteur, made the first Mission: Impossible. This is a far away from a usual DePalma movie, but he does a really good job here. The first film is a bizarre movie in that the Impossible Mission Force that we are introduced to all die within the first act of the movie. Except for Tom Cruise of course, who really solidifies his stardom here. The plot is a little all over the place, however, and the twist at the end is a bit predictable. But DePalma does build claustrophobic suspense really well, utilizing close ups, little score, and tense scenes of dialog. As the first film in a franchise, this is a good starting point.
3 – MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III (JJ Abrams, 2006)
Mission: Impossible III was already climbing up hill before the movie even came out. First, Tom Cruise’s personal life was a disaster. This is right around the time he was jumping on couches for Katie Holmes and his Scientology non-sense was hitting a peak. People had lost faith in Cruise. And after the underwhelming M:I 2, people were sick of the franchise too. Turns out, Mission: Impossible III was the launching point for the franchise that we know of today. Abrams, in his directorial debut, gave us an explosive, thrilling ride filled with sensational set pieces and a good story. We also get far and away the best villain in the franchise in Owen Davian, played masterfully by the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman. This movie is a blast to watch and doesn’t get the credit is deserves.
2 – MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION (Christoper McQuarrie, 2015)
There is a strong case to be made for Rogue Nation as the best Mission: Impossible. Firstly, this is really the first film with an actual plot and story. It puts our IMF team up against a group a villains who are equally as skilled, making the mission at hand even more intense and intriguing. Christopher McQuarrie had the impossible task of trying to follow Ghost Protocol’s legendary Burj Khalifa scene, but he plays his cards right and gives us some thrilling smaller scenes, like the opera assassination attempt and the motorcycle chase. Cruise continues his madness, pushing himself to new limits in terms of his stunts. Rouge Nation also adds some nice new cast members in Alec Baldwin and standout Rebecca Ferguson, who gives a star-making performance going toe-to-toe with Cruise. Rogue Nation is more of a 1B than a runner up in these rankings.
1 – MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – GHOST PROTOCOL (Brad Bird, 2011)
It was a tough battle between Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation. Personally, I love both of them and think that they are two of the finest action movies of this decade. But what Brad Bird was able to do with this film is awe-inspiring. He took the franchise and flipped it on it’s head. From the opening jailbreak to final battle and everything in between, this is unlike any other Mission: Impossible film before it. Bird makes this movie about Tom Cruise and his team and the actions that they have to go through to save their names. Cruise, who was still trying to make his name good again, goes balls to the wall here, showing that he is unlike any movie star ever. And let’s not forget the scenes main centerpiece, as Cruise scales the Burj Khalifa in a heart-stopping, vertigo-inducing action sequence that has yet to be topped. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is one of the truly great actions films ever.
What are you favorite Mission: Impossible movies? Comment below or hit me up on Twitter and Instagram, @kevflix, or on Facebook by searching Kevflix.