Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Here's why the Mission: Impossible films are so great, besides Tom Cruise running

Mission: Impossible—Fallout hits theaters on July 27th, with the promise of even more insane Tom Cruise stunts and maybe some weird stuff with Henry Cavill’s beard. To prepare for the release of Fallout, YouTube film essayist Patrick Willems takes a long look at the Mission: Impossible series, which he calls “the best action franchise currently going.” The 20-minute video is part of Willems’ ongoing “Patrick Explains” series, in which his real-life parents play the beleaguered audience to his lengthy film rants. And Willems has plenty to say about one of his all-time favorite film franchises. (Be warned, there are spoilers for all five films in the video.)

Willems mostly tackles the series through the lens of its various directors (Fallout will be the first M:I film helmed by a returning director). He explores what Brian De Palma, John Woo, J.J. Abrams, Brad Bird, and Christopher McQuarrie each brought to their respective installment of the franchise, and how each film reflects its director’s sensibilities—for better (McQuarrie) or for worse (Woo). But Willems also emphasizes just how important Cruise is to the creation of these films too. To drive that point home, Willems gives each film a 1-5 rating based on how well Cruise runs in each of them.

Willems’ love for the franchise is palpable throughout the video, which also doubles as a nice refresher ahead of Fallout. As Willems puts it, in an era in which big blockbuster films tend to involve giant CGI things smashing into each other, the Mission: Impossible films stand out because “they’re filmmaker-driven action movies on a huge scale, driven by tactile, practical stunt work, shot on 35 mm film, that are more fun and thrilling than almost all of their peers.”


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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Caroline Siede is a pop culture critic in Chicago, where the cold never bothers her anyway. Her interests include superhero movies, feminist theory, and Jane Austen novels.

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