Update: I saw the movie again and tried to relax instead of analyzing it as much as I could. The beginning of the movie gets a huge boost from me in a relaxed state, but story problems and weird writing still plague the movie. I also realized that there is even more footage missing than I originally thought from the trailer. I definitely had a better time on the second viewing and have updated the score. I'll probably will watch the movie again but wont leave another update.
Original: This was the movie that I was looking forward to the most this year. A promise of a pedal to the metal stunt show that never stopped. The Super Bowl trailer did a lot to set those expectations really high. I believed in the vision of having a cinematic movie with crazy in-camera stunts. Mission: Impossible - Fallout delivers on that but also shoots itself in the leg.
The movie delivered amazing cinematography, color, and lighting that made the movie pop. It was exhilarating to watch Tom Cruise do all the crazy stunts without the help of CG work. The action punched hard making the movie surprise you with each blow. There is no doubt that this was a very strong showing for a franchise in its sixth entry. The problem then becomes almost everything else.
The first thing that threw me off was the edit of the movie. There were many unnecessary cuts. Whether it was to add inserts or juggle multiple events happening, it felt like the movie always cut right before it got to the apex of a shot. There were so many beautiful long single shots that cut too soon to a close-up. Or when it cuts from an intense action scene to one with no stakes. I do have to say that this movie has the most beautiful shot of Tom Cruise runng, and I'm not bringing it up as a joke either.
That leads me to another weird thing about this movie, it changed the trajectory of the franchise. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol brought the series back, paying homage to the trilogy before. Directed by Brad Bird of The Incredibles fame, it was an action set piece that was still about spies. Rogue Nation then decided to get rid of a singular set piece in favor of many throughout the movie. It added a new character and introduced elements that seem to be forming the base for the rest of the franchise going forward. Fallout takes the growing team franchise and focuses it right back to Tom Cruise. There is almost no room for anyone else and I think its a weird choice. The character concessions they have to make, where many don't get any development at all. It leads to weird moments in the movie that just don't fit.
I'm talking weird dialogue, characters saying things that don't make sense at the moment. To try and stay true to being a Mission: Impossible movie, it adds comedic relief in weird places that mess with its flow. The identity of the franchise is fading. I wouldn't have minded a reimagining but what's going on here is an identity crisis. In an attempt to make the movie more action-packed, more cinematic, the director borrowed from other movies. I'm talking about Skyfall, Spectre, and The Dark Knight. There could be other movies it takes from but these were the most obvious for me. It blatantly takes story elements, set pieces, and tones from those movies. They jumped out at me because I recognized them so easily. The director also pulls a Speilberg and has a sequence with no music and relies on sounds. For all the good that the movie does, it falters in so many other ways.
A thing that really bothered me was tone and treating lore. The movie was trying to make a big deal about all of the things that happened in past movies. In this instance, I'm talking about the characters' relationships with each other. The movie pretends that its predecessors weren't light-hearted movies that still had you on the edge of your seat. It goes full seriousness but fails because it had to add the comedy in.
In total, this movie is good. When the movie does have music, it uses it really well. There are really great scenes and shots, they just aren't used to their highest potential. The story takes weird turns with some bad dialogue and probably is the weakest in the franchise story wise. It just needed to focus itself not on Tom Cruise, but the cast as a whole. The final things I want to mention are that there are no surprises in the movie. You have seen all the big action stunts in the trailer, there is nothing left for you to discover by seeing it. There are also a couple of shots and scenes not in the movie from the trailer. They looked pretty important so I wonder how different the final cut is from the original. And I hated the intro graphic. Usually, Mission: Impossible movies have a really cool CG intro graphic that's fun to watch. Here, they just show you scenes from the movie that happen all throughout. It actively spoils the movie for you. I'm sad to say that I like it less and less the more I think about it. The problem is I can't not recommend this movie. There is a great movie in the final cut somewhere and if you don't watch it on a huge screen, you're not going to get the maximum enjoyment from it.