Mission: Impossible – Ranked

The sixth edition of the Mission: Impossible films drops next month and if you’ve been paying attention, you know I’m a huge fan of the films. Over the course of 22 years since the first one was released, tent-pole popcorn cinema has evolved into our heroes wearing capes, yet M:I remains as something of a throwback. That’s not to say the films haven’t evolved on their own – all are entertaining, and the newer ones have generally been better received than the first couple.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout will be the sixth in the series, and features the first return director to the series in long-time Tom Cruise collaborator Christopher McQuarrie.

The blog will be in vacation next month when the film drops on July 27, so let’s talk a little bit about Ethan, Luther and the rest of the group today.

5. Mission: Impossible 2
Rotten Tomatoes: 57%

M:I2 is the lowest-ranked of all of the movies, by large consensus, and with good reason. The story is lackluster, the action sequences overblown and the villain not that interesting. That said, the visuals are just stunning – this was Director John Woo at his most “Woo-like”. Combined with the music and the usual earnest performance from Cruise, and it’s still a film that’s worth watching.


4. Mission: Impossible
Rotten Tomatoes: 62%

The original, which got the series off to a bang, is probably the most distinguishable film of the series. It feels more European than any of its successors, with an old-fashioned, winner take all spy story with a twist a minute – including the many stars who met their demise in the film’s first act. Unfortunately, the film is a bit convoluted at times and though this resolves itself with multiple viewings, when people get confused, they get bored and then blame the film.


3. Mission: Impossible 3
Rotten Tomatoes: 70%

M:I3 is the turning point for the series, with JJ Abrams stepping in to direct his first-ever film (though Abrams moved onto Star Trek afterwards, his production company Bad Robot continues to produce the M:I films). This film is probably the most (to date) personal film for the Ethan Hunt, who is brought out of retirement to protect friends and family at various points. I also love the cinematography – by far, the most artistic of the series. Phillip Seymour Hoffman also plays the series’ most fleshed-out baddie. Though the critics like this one less than the more recent two, I nearly put this one in the second slot.


2. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%

This was a great M:I film from top to bottom, with a twisting, turning spy story, mixed with well-thought out visuals and action sequences and good performances all around. But it was the third time in five films that Ethan had been disavowed, which is a story that’s getting a little old. Yet, still a great time at the movies. And the airplane sequence is breathtaking.


1. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%

This is the most situationally diverse M:I film to date. Starting with a completely new crew who breaks Ethan out of prison, then a really cool technological invasion of the Kremlin, followed by the stunning sequence in Dubai. The baddie is somewhat elusive, but it’s got a fantastic conclusion, and little nods to the previous films in the closing seconds.


Where do you think Mission: Impossible – Fallout will rank?

Here’s the trailer…