‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ reviews: Critics say it may be the best of the franchise, and one of the best of the year

The reviews are in for “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” and perhaps surprisingly they’re not only good, but great. It’s rare for movie franchises to get better with age, but this latest installment of Tom Cruise‘s spy franchise, which started way back in 1996 with the original film directed by Brian De Palma, has gotten by far the highest MetaCritic and Rotten Tomatoes scores in franchise history.

As of this writing the film has an 86 rating on MetaCritic based on 54 reviews, and a near perfect 98% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on more than 170 reviews. The RT consensus says the film “lives up to the ‘impossible’ part of its name by setting yet another high mark for insane set pieces in a franchise full of them.” And those aren’t just great reviews for a summer blockbuster, they’d also be the envy of most Oscar contenders. To compare, the reigning Best Picture champ, “The Shape of Water,” scored 87 on MetaCritic and 92% freshness on Rotten Tomatoes.

This is the second “M:I” film helmed by frequent Cruise collaborator Christopher McQuarrie, who directed the actor in “Jack Reacher” in addition to “M:I — Rogue Nation” and also wrote the scripts for his films “Valkyrie,” “Edge of Tomorrow” and “The Mummy.” McQuarrie is now the first director in the franchise to return for seconds after one-and-done efforts by De Palma (the original film, 1996), John Woo (“Mission: Impossible II,” 2000), J.J. Abrams (“Mission: Impossible III,” 2006) and Brad Bird (“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” 2011).

Perhaps the wide range of filmmakers explains the franchise’s longevity. The spy films have been chameleonic, changing with the times and adapting to a variety of filmmaking styles. Now perhaps McQuarrie has now perfected the formula. Critics say he delivers “a whole lot of everything” with “Hope-diamond levels of grandeur,” and it may be “the best blockbuster of the summer.” Read what some of the critics had to say below, and discuss this and more with your fellow movie fans in our forums.

Manohla Dargis (New York Times): “There’s a whole lot of everything in the ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout,’ an entertainment machine par excellence that skitters around the world and has something to do with nuclear bombs, mysterious threats and dangerous beauties … There’s real pleasure in the images of Mr. Cruise, tense yet nimble, zigzagging through Paris on a motorcycle or sliding a car across pavement.”

Stephanie Zacharek (Time): “‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ may be the best Mission: Impossible movie since the first, made in the dawn of the cat-Internet age, 1996, by Brian De Palma. Or perhaps it’s just the one with the mostest: even by the franchise’s extravagant standards, ‘Fallout’ throws off Hope-diamond levels of grandeur.”

Jocelyn Noveck (Associated Press): “One day, people will chuckle sympathetically at the exploits of this well-meaning but wrinkled movie star, perhaps in his 80s then, putting his life in danger to please his fans. Now, though, is not that day … Much ink has been spent analyzing this enduring phenomenon called Tom Cruise, and what motivates him, onscreen and off. ‘I just want to entertain people,’ he said recently. That’s one mission he can still nail.”

Alissa Wilkinson (Vox): “The ‘Mission: Impossible’ movies strike a pleasing balance between memorable action sequences and smaller-scale character intrigue … The sixth installment, ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout,’ brings all that to the table once again, and it just may be the best blockbuster of the summer.”

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