Ranked: The Mission Impossible Franchise

Mission Impossible II, is it really the worst?

Yes, yes it is. From the first article in Mission Impossible-Week, you might’ve already caught on to my dislike for the film, but how do I rank the remaining five? Well, let’s find out, but before I do that, I want to remind you of the other articles written in Mission Impossible-Week, namely An Ode to the Mission Impossible Franchise, a Here’s a Cool Shot about one shot of the films, a Review of the newest instalment and finally this one to conclude the week. So let’s get to it, shall we?


Generally seen as the worst film of the series, Mission Impossible II also comes in at the bottom of my list. This is mostly because it’s the odd one out in terms of tones and characterization. Tom Cruise flying through the air kicking people left and right just doesn’t really fit in with the semi-grounded atmosphere the series has set up. At times the film felt like a Bollywood film, which can be cool, but wasn’t in this film. The editing often ruined cool scenes, by making them look fake or rather lazily put together. As a whole, it felt like there wasn’t put in a lot of effort into making this film; there were a ton of visible crewmembers/equipment, continuity errors and plot holes. The writing was bad as well, especially in writing Ethan Hunt as a likable guy and in writing a well-developed and believable relationship. The special effects from the previous film might’ve even been better than they were in this one; green screens and CGI-effects were easy to spot. The film tried to be some sort of superhero Bollywood mixture that was cool at the same time, but it really doesn’t work. It’s not cool, it’s stupid. You’d think that with these absurd sequences that it wouldn’t take itself too seriously, but it does. It takes itself very seriously and it doesn’t do the film any favors. The pacing was terrible, the directing distracting, the plot dull and it tries to be things it can’t be and it shouldn’t be. It’s bad.

Grade: D


Mission Impossible III was a step in the right direction, but it isn’t quite there yet. It somewhat brought the series back to its roots, making it more of an action thriller with spy elements than the over-the-top abominable thing the second film was. This one puts in effort in developing Ethan Hunt as a character and it does so well enough. It also tries to develop its side characters, but here the film sort of failed, as the scenes where we’re learning more about them are done with a lack of subtlety. The film’s action-packed and every action scene was exciting to watch. There were some fun set pieces, though they’re never as memorable as they were in the first installment. I was a big fan of the film’s cinematography as well; it being filmed on actual film gave it a distinct look, with gorgeous colors. The camera frantically moves around with tons of close-ups giving you an “in the moment”-feeling. The biggest plus Mission Impossible III has to offer was Philip Seymour Hoffman, without whom the film would’ve been a whole lot worse. Hoffman gave an excellent performance, where he was both menacing and oddly enough charming. He’s a villain you love to hate, which makes him very memorable.

Grade: B


The first installment of the Mission Impossible franchise was surprisingly better than I remembered. Sure, it has its flaws, but it’s an incredibly fun film nonetheless. The action set pieces were original and memorable, the soundtrack is both fantastic and iconic and the directing too was pretty good, with excellent moments of tension and a lot of well-composited shots. There were, however, a few too many Dutch angles for my liking and some of Tom Cruise’s line delivery are a bit cheesy, especially in the beginning. The special effects also look dated, except for the practical ones, which looked fantastic. The story, while at the moment it’s been told many times, was still pretty good, with an excellent twist at the end, which was brought creatively by De Palma. When watching it, you’ll have a guaranteed fun time, regardless of how many times you’ve already seen it.

Grade: A-


Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol brought the series back to its roots, as it made it a spy film once again. The second one was a wannabe Pierce Bronson Bond era film mixed together with eastern martial arts and superhero elements, which unsurprisingly didn’t work, the third one was an action thriller with some spy elements, but it didn’t quite get what the original was striving for; a slow-paced spy thriller with twists and turns and cool gadgets. Mission Impossible IV got that and sort of reinvented it by modernizing it. It didn’t keep the slow pace from the first film, but it did, however, stay true to that spy thriller thing. There were some brilliant moments of tension in this one, with awesome gadgets, who for once could fail on our characters, which could cause for some interesting moments. It didn’t take itself very seriously, which is great because quite a few of the things happening are pretty silly, but they do work in the universe this film’s set up. The team had great chemistry with each other and I loved how the film decided to focus a bit more on their mutual relationships. Every team member was given a backstory and they were given something to do. The directing was excellent, the action was excellent, the cinematography was excellent; it’s really just an excellent film… except for the villain, who sucked. His motivation was severely lacking and we barely get to see anything of him. He was performed well and the climactic battle was done well too, it just didn’t feel like he was as menacing as we were lead to believe because we knew so little about him.

Grade: A


Before Fallout was released, Rogue Nation stood on number one for me. It’s not a lot better than Ghost Protocol, but there are a few things that rank it higher. One; I’m a bigger fan of Christopher McQuarrie’s more realistic approach than Bird’s cartoony interpretation. Two; the villain was slightly better. Not great, slightly better. Three; the side characters in this one were extremely enjoyable to watch and work together, but that wouldn’t’ve been the case if Ghost Protocol didn’t set them up correctly. Four; dare I say that the action set pieces are more grandiose and fun to watch than they were in Ghost Protocol? Five; the pacing. Rogue Nation is next to the first installment the best-paced film of the franchise. There’s not one dull moment; the story’s constantly moving forward and it never gets distracted by unnecessary subplots. Six; Rebecca Ferguson.

Grade: A


I love this film. It’s even more than I wanted it to be. In my opinion, it’s the perfect Mission: Impossible film. The pacing that I already loved from the previous film was somehow better in this one, the action set pieces were jaw-dropping, the stunts were incredible, the cinematography was some of the best in the series, the side characters were all given something to do and they were developed even more. The sound design was remarkable also and so was the soundtrack. It’s a sequel that can both stand on its own, but it’s also one that adds to the franchise. It uses elements from the previous installments and pays homage to them as well. The plot was complex but cleverly constructed, the villain was interesting and due to him being already set up in the previous film, he ended up being one of the better villains the films have known. It’s really an excellent film.

Grade: A+

And that’s about it. In preparation of Mission Impossible: Fallout, I rewatched the whole series and  I had a blast doing so. Every film is its own thing, which is why it’s one of my favorite series, even with the disaster Mission Impossible II is. Thanks for reading the other articles in Mission Impossible-Week; this one will end it.Ranked

4 thoughts on “Ranked: The Mission Impossible Franchise

  1. I’d be tempted to make 2 and 3 a no score draw. Yep I know 2 is real bad but it’s a product of its time. John Woo went slow-mo overboard crazy. Dougray Scott was a cheesy baddie but hey it had the sexy Thandie Newton.
    I personally didn’t get on with 3 but I admit it’s the only one of the series I’ve only seen once, bar Fallout.
    I also would flip Rogue Nation into top place above Fallout. More Rebecca Ferguson, haha you might see a pattern forming! However much I loved Fallout at the cinema it had so much action, dare I say, got a little boring! “Whaaaat!” hehe yeah I know. Just personal thoughts and every one sees something different, which is the beauty of film.
    Great article.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!

      I’d have to agree that 2 is a product of time. It’s certainly an early 2000’s film and it shows. I’d have to disagree with you saying that 2 and 3 are pretty much equal in quality. On a technical level, 3 was way beyond 2, but also character wise. Thandie Newton’s character was extremely flat, while in 3 they spent time to try to develop the side character some more. They didn’t really succeed at doing so, but they tried.

      Personally, I found that every action set piece in Fallout was unique in its own way, due to which they failed to bore me, but someone else could think otherwise. In Rogue Nation, the set pieces were never really able to live up to the high bar set by the first one, so I’d think the action in that one would bore you more, but oh well.

      Thanks for reading.



      1. Be a superb discussion over a few beers. Especially as we have the same positions on the others. Whatever way you look at it, it sure is a fantastic, extremely fun and entertaining series and good old Tom keeps delivering the goods 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. My order is a little different.
    1. Fallout
    2. Ghost Protocol
    3. III
    4. Rogue Nation
    5. I
    6. II

    Fallout is the runaway leader for me, with Ghost Protocol, III and Rogue Nation all close, quickly followed by the first film. The second film is by far away the worst of the franchise.

    Liked by 1 person

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