With Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One slowly moving into movie theaters and Cineplexes across the country, it is the perfect time to take a look at the entire franchise to see where each movie ranks.
Box office savior Tom Cruise began the franchise 27 years ago and has since cleared $3.5 billion at the box office. It was a rocky start to the franchise, which we will get into soon. But as the series moved forward, the films began to take off as the action intensified and the stunts got bigger and bigger.
Here are the six films in the series, ranked. We have left out Dead Reckoning as it is just being released.
Every Mission: Impossible Film Ranked
Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)
You can make the argument that the last three films in the Mission: Impossible series could be interchanged as to which one is the best of the bunch. For us here at GFR, the sixth film in the franchise, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, represents the best.
Settling in with a running time of two and a half hours, Cruise’s Ethan Hunt and his Mission Impossible team find themselves needing to clear their names again. The action is, well, impossible as the series calls upon Henry Cavill to spice things up.
While the action is intense, this film offers one of the best hand-to-hand fight sequences of the series.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
While the first three films in the Mission: Impossible franchise were decent action flicks with solid stories, this fourth film in the series really showed the potential for a true franchise.
After being blamed for a terrorist attack in Russia, Ethan Hunt’s team must now work separately from the U.S. Government to prove their innocence.
The set pieces were better, the action more intense, and watching Tom Cruise cruise around on the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, was nerve-wracking, especially if heights are not your thing.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)
For many, this is their favorite film in the franchise. Technically the film is relentless and efficient, offering the same thrills as the previous film, Ghost Protocol.
Here, though, Hunt’s team finds themselves in a battle with an organization called The Syndicate, a group that wishes to rid the world of the IMF. As always, it is Tom Cruise’s dedication to the action, the stunts, and the desire to do whatever it takes to entertain audiences.
Mission: Impossible III (2006)
Three years before the Star Trek reboot and almost a decade before Star Wars, director J.J. Abrams took on the Mission: Impossible franchise. While it was a step above the first two films, it wasn’t as memorable as Cruise or Abrams had wanted. That’s not to say it wasn’t a decent entry into the franchise, because it was.
In Mission: Impossible III, Ethan Hunt gets himself a new IMF team. Although they are fun to watch, the true highlight of the movie is the performance by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman as the villain, Davian.
Mission: Impossible (1996)
This was the first go around for Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt and unfortunately, it was the most divisive film of the franchise. Here, Cruise was joined by Jon Voight in what would tie the future to the past.
Voight played Jim Phelps, a character from the original Mission: Impossible television series, played by Peter Graves.
The Brian DePalma-directed film had Hunt on the hunt for a mole in the IMF organization. When it was discovered to be Phelps, fans and actors from the series alike were not pleased. In fact, all the actors who played in the series were not shy about their dissatisfaction. Somehow, the film got a sequel.
Mission: Impossible 2 (2000)
After the debacle that was the entry film into the franchise, the pressure was on for Tom Cruise to knock its sequel out of the ballpark. John Woo was hired to direct and with his pedigree, one would have thought the results would have been a smash hit.
Here, Ethan Hunt finds himself traversing the globe in attempts to stop an ex-IMF agent from setting off a bioweapon that could wipe out billions. The film simply didn’t pop, which is probably why it took Cruise six years before he made the third film in the franchise.