On “Mission Impossible – Fallout” and the M:I Cinematic Universe

Mission Impossible Fallout!

“Hi, kids. I’m Tom Cruise, and I’d like to talk to you about rooftop playtime safety…”

I saw Mission Impossible – Fallout in its second weekend of release and have spent numerous days since then doubting I could contrive more than 300 words out of “such nonstop wow”, which was more or less my initial impression of one of the year’s most exhilarating films.

But longtime MCC readers know every movie I see in theaters gets its own entry, even if it’s not always timely or relevant or useful to anyone but me, not unlike the rest of this site’s contents. Off we leap into that wild wordy yonder, then.

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“Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation”: Spy vs. Spy vs. Spy vs. Spy

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation!

We once lived in a cinematic age when pushing a series to five or more installments was a generally unwise move. Rocky V. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning. Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach. A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child. Superman Returns. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. An unwatchable army of various grade-Z horror also-rans that made it to #5 only through the undiscerning benevolence of the direct-to-VHS market. Many of us remain thankful the producers of Jaws and Lethal Weapon quit while they were behind.

Today, sequel failure is no longer a given. X-Men: Days of Future Past and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix may not be the greatest of either franchise, but they’re nonetheless commendable works that furthered their sagas, asked more of their actors, challenged themselves to create their own unique moments, and validated their existence. They confirmed it can be done. Along that same line of logic comes Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. Any other series built around any other A-list star might be accused of being a soulless cash-grabbing machine if they repeated a role this many times. Maybe not all the parts are brand new, but the ones that worked before shine up really nicely and fit together into interesting new shapes if you know how to tweak them.

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MCC Home Video Scorecard #3: Histories Rewritten

Disney's Lone Ranger!

Coming next fall to The CW: Winklevoss and Wonka! They’re loose-cannon buddy-cops, hot on the trail of Mike Teavee and the Facebook Staff!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: the recurring feature that’s me jotting down capsule-sized notes about Stuff I Recently Watched at home. In this batch: an expensive tale about Massive Explosions of the Oooold West; an epic from the end of China’s Warring States period; a World War II short story about the time they almost killed Hitler; and an animated sort-of adaptation of a famous novel about an honorary teen pirate.

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“Edge of Tomorrow” and Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow!

We live in a society where a movie can rake in twenty-nine million dollars on its opening weekend in American theaters and still be declared an immediate failure. The new Tom Cruise vehicle Edge of Tomorrow was expensively constructed even by summer blockbuster standards, but it was bumped back to third place this past weekend by both the young-adult juggernaut that is The Fault in Our Stars and the ongoing smash Maleficent. Audiences are sticking to their standard demographic preferences and don’t much care that Tomorrow has the highest Tomatometer rating of the three.

The over-50 action/sci-fi veteran meets his match (or better!) in Emily Blunt, last seen being overlooked in Looper, but their pairing plus alien warfare weren’t enough of a draw in a slightly crowded field in theaters. I’m not feeling drawn to Disney’s Angelina Jolie Fairy Tale Masquerade, but when I was faced with choosing between the other two on Tuesday night, I decided to give the pricy-looking underdog some attention. (To be honest, I think I’d rather read the novel first before seeing Stars.)

Right this way for more details! Unless you’ve already read this entry several hundred times…

“Oblivion”: Maverick vs. Galactus

Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, OblivionAs with most big-budget sci-fi films nowadays, many viewers will spend half the running time of the new Tom Cruise vehicle Oblivion mentally tallying how many refurbished components they recognize from other sci-fi flicks. That doesn’t automatically make the film bad in my book, but it can be a pervasive distraction that turns my viewing experience into one long Highlights for Children puzzle. (Score one point for every borrowed element you spot! If you spot ten or more, you’re a Certified Movie Maven!) Oblivion is the second feature film from Joseph Kosinski, the director of Tron: Legacy, which was a visual wonderland and a surprisingly classy act considering it was a Disney sequel to a film I’ve disliked since I was ten.

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