Mission: Impossible III ★★★½

Break-neck speed and pacing grounded by personal and emotional stakes. What MI3 lacks in death-defying stunt work and thought-out cinematography and staging, it definitely makes up for with its frenetic energy and emotional performances.

Everyone in this cast brings their own bit of depth and charisma, and we are happily introduced to Simon Pegg's Benji (hey, Aaron Paul has a mini arc here!).

I love how the film never feels the need to explain what the rabbit's foot is. We understand the McGuffin and move on with the story. We don't even get so see Ethan steal it, as it happens off-screen. Great subversion there.

Luther and Ethan's friendly banter adds great levity to the action, and JJ isn't afraid to get weird and corny ("Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall").

Philip Seymour Hoffman's villainous performance is one of the best aspects of this movie. He actually reminded me a little bit of Heath Ledger's Joker (both RIP). However, I would have liked something to care more about his motivations. I know he's bad, and he wants the McGuffin, but I could've used a bit more depth. The IMF corruption subplot was fine, but I think it detracted from this potential. Hoffman is absolutely amazing. He's a marvel to watch.

Overall, this movie is really good. The shot of Ethan sprinting by the water in Shanghai is a stand-out, as is the moment he leans out of the speeding car. All the stuff with him and Michelle Monaghan I totally bought. I just think that this being JJ's first movie made it so he was a bit apprehensive about going big with the camera work and staging. Most of it looks and works great, but I noticed too many instances of close-up shaky shots. Not a huge complaint, but It's just interesting to see where JJ started considering what he's working on now.

As I rewatch the series, I'm realizing how tonally different and disjointed these movies are. They are all kind of their own thing. Stoked fo the next two. They're the best.