My movie partner in crime and I agreed that we were going to see the IMAX screening of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL (or MIGP as I will call it for the rest of the review) mostly for one thing: The Dark Knight Rises prologue. I can't (and won't... and don't want to) really give anything away because I had no idea what was going on... but it was awesome. In it, we were given a very, VERY innovative introduction to the film's antagonist, Bane. And his villainous deed in the prologue... Well, I've never seen anything like that in a movie. Blew my mind. I had the same problem that a lot of people had with understanding Bane, but it kind of made him all the more compelling to watch. I was told that if you watched bootlegged version on youtube, with subtitles, it makes more sense. After the prologue, we were treated to a bunch of quick-cut clips of the happenings of Gotham City, and it all just looked so fantastic. Can't wait until this movie is released.
After a deep breath that followed that nerdgasm, on came MIGP.
I walked into MIGP with high expectations, and they were met. Won't say exceeded, but they were met. Tom Cruise returns as Ethan Hunt, and he does his thing. He plays the part with the right mix of intensity and coolness. He's the experienced one on the team made up of Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, and Paula Patton. Though they aren't green, they defer to the wise, experienced super agent. Renner is especially fun as the mysterious new guy, and his secret is pretty dark. More after the break.
Way generally, Ethan Hunt and his IMF team are framed for bombing the Kremlin in Russia. The culprits behind the bombing are then trying to start a war by bombing the US and pretending its a Russian response... I think that's what happened. Not a totally innovative plot, but the missions to get us to the ultimate endgame are top-notch and executed extremely well. Each mission carries a real sense of danger and suspense. Though you knew Tom Cruise would survive, the pain and the threat of pain felt real. The whole Dubai sequence is especially excellent. The stunts were pretty amazing, and the special effects blended with the action seamlessly.
The film is directed by Brad Byrd. You may remember Byrd for directing THE INCREDIBLES. He was an excellent choice. The film is grounded in a familial feeling, and the team works more like a team than in any of the previous installments. The film flows is paced well.
What I didn't like... Not much, but here's one. BIG Spoiler...Ethan Hunt's wife (who was alive and well in the previous movie) is not around. Jeremy Renner's character, Brandt, has a scene where he owns up to having to provide surveillance for the Hunts, and she was murdered under his watch. Brandt feels responsible for Ethan Hunt's wife's murder because his team didn't protect her. He quit his job and became an analyst because he couldn't deal with that. They said that Ethan responded to his wife's murder by killing a bunch of Croatians and getting thrown in prison. That was a GREAT twist. I don't really like the anti-hero stuff, but I was more interested in the darker side of Ethan Hunt. Ethan Hunt is too perfect. That gave him some edge. So, at the very end, Ethan talks to Brandt and tells him that he faked her death to protect her, and he was imprisoned to get intel on some dude... It just felt cheap and convenient and brought on waaaaay too happy of an ending. It robbed him of a fun flaw to his character. Too nice a bow at the end.
Smaller spoiler- the cameos at the end were fun... and necessary.
Overall... Good but not great. Fun but not memorable. Satisfying's the appropriate word. If you see it, see it at an IMAX because the visuals are pretty amazing (and because the Dark Knight Rises trailer). I'll give it 7 out of 10 Spiders Crawling on Your Arms and Legs and in Your Ears and Wanting to Kiss You.
Oh, also, Bad Robot (JJ Abrams production company) made an App called Action Movie FX as a tie in to MIGP. It's currently free, and it's pretty awesome.