The movie industry is built on big budget franchises. We know this. We don’t care. We complain en masse, but when it comes down to it, nobody minds excessive franchising or the recycling of familiar cinematic concepts enough to do anyhting about it. I’m as much of a culprit as anyone else; this summer I went twice to see a movie that was the sixth film about that character, and the fifteenth of its series (Spider-Man Homecoming).
Rogue nation, the fifth film in the Mission Impossible series suffers this exact fatigue. It is a slickly shot spy caper with deception and betrayal; full of perilous stunts and adrenaline pumping fire fights. Were one to formulaically analyze the aspects of a good movie, and put all these ingredients back together, they would get Rogue Nation. The problem is that cinema doesn’t work like that. The handful of perfectly excecuted action setpieces (most notably a positively claustrophobic underwater scene) do not make up for the movies general soullessness.
There are no lapses in effort or major plot holes here. All the acting is on point, and the camera movement and sound design could not be better. My feeling leaving this movie though (and I am probably in the minority here) was that it was just a film made by a bunch of people who’s job it was to act, film, and design sound well. There is no real beauty in this movie; no emotion or real stakes. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation didn’t feel like a labor of love, It felt like another day at the office.