Tom Cruise is a weird creature of Hollywood, in all of his films playing essentially the same archetype of the mythical, unflappable agent out to inevitably save the world. But when he’s pressed between gold standard production, stunt choreography, and writing, I’ll be damned if it isn’t supremely satisfying entertainment.

While Bond has grown ever more realist, dark, and cynical over the years, the “Mission: Impossible” series has taken the mantle of romantic spy craft and perfected it, bringing a de facto good triumph over evil, no doubt, but laying a labyrinth of dramatic story that raises your heart rate and refuses to let it drop even slightly.

Yet the intensity of “Mission:Impossible–Fallout” does not sacrifice it’s wit and character. High pressure, but consistently threaded by a lightness that makes the dreary world and moral dilemmas fun, optimistic, and forever hopeful. This persistent dynamic within the series is uplifting in a film era high on epics full of grim seriousness, and a real world in which the good guys don’t always win.

9.2/10 A-