Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol ★★★★

Pure, wholesome entertainment. Brad Bird elevated an already solid franchise and made it truly great. The first three films are all really good in their own right, each with its own shining quality. Ghost Protocol strips away all the things that don't work in those first three films, and doubles down on the fun and heightened ridiculousness. Bird manages to craft an action-packed thrill ride full of style and inventiveness in a way that did not work for John Woo in MI2.

The team dynamic is integral here, as are the crazy gadgets and how the team must adapt when they malfunction. Every member has a memorable moment, and the focus on team dynamic is a necessary change of pace. The humor and ridiculousness go hand in hand, and Tom Cruise finds a perfect balance between full serious and not serious at all.

Plenty has been said about the Burj Khalifa sequence, and rightfully so. It is without a doubt, one of the greatest action scenes ever conceived and executed. Not only are the shots beautiful and breathtaking, the scale, tension, vertigo, and peril are all communicated flawlessly. Brad Bird proves with his first live action film that his approach to action staging carries over seamlessly from animation to the real world.

This is as good as it gets in terms of thrilling, pure, wholesome entertainment. An excellent action movie with fun characters, creative concepts, and engrossing setpieces. Forever rewatchable and satisfying.