27 July 2018

Mission Impossible 87 or whatever

At this point there may not actually be that much more to say about the Mission: Impossible franchise. This holds up pretty well. It's not as if the series has really changed significantly in any meaningful way. Christopher McQuarrie returns, who has somehow grown into this productive relationship with Tom Cruise, also directing him in Jack Reacher (2012), but also contributing to the writing of Ealkyrie (2008), Edge of Tomorrow (2014), and The Mummy (2017). It all kind of feels like more of the same.

But maybe that's just what we need. Hear me out.

This has been a bit of a weird summer. We've had some big successes, sure, but it's all been in spandex. As it turns out, Infinity War (2018) was such a big cultural force and became so ubiquitous that it feels like it came out years ago (my homies are still casually talking about Thanos' morality and motives). Other big flicks like Solo (2018) and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) have done alright, but nothing really culturally notable. We didn't even really have any major releases last week.

Just watching Tom Cruise go to work is like going back in time to when movie stars were a thing. He branched out and did some terrible floppy movies, but we're getting to the point where the Mission: Impossible series is his bread and butter. It's what he returns to whenever his career needs that reliable shot in the arm. This is also actually the fastest a Mission: Impossible film has turned around, only three years after Rogue Nation (2015).

That could also be why these films just seem like a blur. Or the fact that there isn't much of any plot left. Frankly I can't actually remember the plot to any Impossible movie, but the last few in particular tend to be built around specific set pieces and big stunts - don't get me wrong, this crew delivers better than any other team out there right now, but the films don't have too much going for them. Still, Ghost Protocol (2011), Rogue Nation, and currently Fallout (2018) are all ranked in the mid-90s on Rotten Tomatoes.

Not like RT is the best measure possible, but it's surprising for the 4th, 5th, and 6th installments of a series that seemed to be dying. It's like the Fast and Furious series except it only revolves around Tom Cruise. Ving Rhames doesn't do too much anymore. Neither really does Simon Pegg. People are going to these films to see Tom Mapother jump out of airplanes and almost kill himself.

Maybe that's enough, it's clearly earning some hype and this weird position as a late summer burst of frenetic blockbuster energy. Throwing Superman into the mix with the grandest moustache ever is icing on the cake that should promise a solid throwdown. I literally don't care what this film is even about - is Ethan Hunt fighting to clear his name against the IMF? Like literally every other fucking movie in this franchise? Why does it have so much goodwill?

It might be a combination of familiarity. That is, both the jump off from the original television show (which the original 1996 film quickly shat all over) as well as 90s nostalgia and then 2000s nostalgia. For a while the cool thing about this franchise was guest directors like Brian de Palma, John Woo, JJ Abrams, and Brad Bird stepping in and doing their thing. It was like comparing side to side visions of different artists and then being able to parse out which styles spoke to you personally. Like, I am a fan of the original and Ghost Protocol - I suppose that makes me a fan of natural lighting, clarity of action, iconic set-pieces, and high tension. Cool. It took them 22 years to break this style, but I'm not sure it was even a trend they set out to begin with.

Anyway, I'm somehow pretty jacked up for this. It feels like an antidote. You know you're getting a solid product. A movie that cares about action, the audience, isn't trying to set up anything (somehow that world is built just fine for Tom Cruise to pop in and out of every few years), and just wants to entertain you. There actually hasn't been much of that this summer. It's nice.

Oh, also Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (2018) comes out this weekend, which I definitely need to see. I watched LEGO: Ninjago (2017), people. I'm amazed at the life of this series. Teen Titans was a pretty rad young adult show that I was definitely just too old to watch as much as I did, but then they retained all the same characters and voice actors and made it far far goofier with Teen Titans Go!. It's always been this wannabe anime that's also rooted in DC comics lore that's totally insane.

It's a show that has descended down and down into more child-friendly territory, to the point where it uses its superhero characters for doofy shit all the time instead of real-superhero problems. This is brilliant and the series trusts its characters so heartily over the need for mindless action and power showcases. It's lovely. Teen Titans Go! To the Movies is an extension of this, one that I did not realize was so popular. Magical. I'm so tired right now. Wondermagic.

What are you checking out this weekend? Kid stuff that's actually pretty awesome? Awesome Tom Cruise movie? Wonder Woman (2017)? Leave it below.

1 comment:

  1. I'm seeing Mission Impossible!! Apparently the best one.


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