Many of my good friends have probably heard me rant about my dislike for the endless, uninventive sequels to large box office successes that are released every summer. I still like to operate under the notion that sequels should be reserved for stories that have the potential to grow on a emotional level for the main characters and ones that can take the topics and themes of the original and expand on them in a way that is beneficial to the viewer of the film. Terminator 2, Aliens, and even How to Train Your Dragon 2 were all successful sequels in my opinion because they either presented new themes and dynamics but in a similar style to the original, or they took the already existing themes and expanded on them in an intellectual advancement. There are some sequels in this world that, quite frankly, we just don’t need. The Transformers series should’ve stopped after the massive disappointment that was the second entry. While it may be hard to imagine finding meaning and purpose in a world that doesn’t have five, yes five, Police Academy films, I think I might be able to soldier through if they had stopped after the second film. There seems to be this trend that as a series of films continues the more the films decrease in quality. While the Terminator and Shrek series gave us strong entries for the first two films, even they couldn’t bring successful or meaning stories for the third entries and beyond. Terminator Genysis, which came out earlier this year, was not only the worst Terminator film ever, but also one of the worst movies I have seen this year. It is nearly an impossible task, or mission let’s say, to create any relevant and entertaining films in the fourth entries of a series and beyond. It seems fitting then that Mission Impossible would be the one franchise to be the exception to this rule.
The first three Mission Impossible films were decent action adventures, with the third one being the best in my opinion. When the fourth entry, Ghost Protocol, was set to come out in 2011, it was needless to say that I was skeptical about how the film would stack up to the first three; I was convinced the series had reached its expiration date. Somehow, the fourth film superseded everything the first three films did and breathed new life into the franchise. When it was time for the fifth movie to be released, again I was skeptical, thinking that the fourth film was just a one off. Instead, this new entry, Rogue Nation, has managed to continue the quality of Ghost Protocol, and be the second best film in the series of Mission Impossible films. Granted, while this film is not as good as Ghost Protocol was, it still has all the enjoyable characteristics we have come to love of the Mission Impossible franchise, as well as creating its own original themes and ideas that allow it to stand separate from all the others. The action sequences are unique and as entertaining as ever, and the script isn’t torturous to listen to like the one from Jurassic World was. It may not stand out as a brilliant action film like Mad Max did earlier this year, but it is entertaining enough to be enjoyed for multiple viewings and reminds us that Tom Cruise, albeit now 53 years old, is still the king of action movies.
I still don’t like sequels, especially ones that are created for the sole purpose of making money. Film is a form of art and should be held to that high standard rather than the commercial standard too many production companies seem to be obsessed with nowadays. I still stand by notion that most film franchises reach their expiration date after the release of the second or third films; however, it is nice to know that there can still be an exception to this rule. I think it would be good for the Mission Impossible franchise to quit while they are ahead, but if they can continue to make worthwhile summer action films that aren’t incredibly painful to sit through, they by all means let them keep filming.
Mission Impossible Rogue Nation (2015): 3/4 stars