After watching Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, I realised that, out of the five films that have been in the series, there are three which really worked well. Let's face it, the second and third films in the series were far below the level of the first, fourth and newly released fifth. Why? Because the better films all followed what I call the Mission Impossible formula. There are some criteria that you must meet, of course, to complete this formula. Here are some of those things:
WARNING: SPOILERS FOR ALL MISSION IMPOSSIBLE FILMS INCLUDING ROGUE NATION LIE BELOW
1. The team!
The thing about Mission Impossible was that it was originally about a team of spies. That was the premise of the TV show. You want a single secret agent doing incredible things, getting the girl and saving the world? Watch Bond. This was never meant to be that, and the first film understood that, but the second and third were so much about Hunt that they did less well. Sure, he kind of had a team in the third one, although he was still focussed upon way too much, and the third did perform better than the second, but still, the team of the fourth was top notch, and bringing Ving Rhames back in the fifth has made it even better.
2. The "Impossible" bit
Take a look at this.
Pretty iconic by now, right? How about this?
Pretty amazing scene again. Now look at this.
It's pretty easy to explain this one. Mission Impossible. The mission is supposed to seem impossible. In the second film, he just did a lot of staking out and getting poisoned. In the third, he did assault a couple of high tech facilities, but there was no point where they really went "Oh crap, this cannot be done." In the first film he broke into the CIA. In the fourth, he broke into the Kremlin, and then climbed up the side of the tallest building in the world. In the fifth, he dives into this water you see above, and has to switch some computer memory underwater, while holding his breath for three minutes. He nearly dies doing this. He also kidnaps the Prime Minister, and hangs onto the side of a plane as it flies away. The point is, you hear these things and go "No way, how is that possible?!" That's what it means.
3. The Disavowed Factor
I can't quite tell you why, but this works every time. Mission Impossible the first was about Ethan's team getting killed, and him getting the blame for it. In the second, IMF called him and asked him to investigate. In the third, he was retired and IMF asked him to come back. In the fourth, their team was totally disavowed after the secretary was killed, leaving them totally alone. The fifth went one step further, shutting down the IMF and forcing Ethan on the run for months. See the pattern yet again? It's all about these things that make the story, and Hunt being an agent for an organization once again gives it a little Bond feeling.
Can you guys see? Are these factors all part of what makes a great Mission Impossible film or what?