(Spoiler Alert…kind of…a loose end is tied up if you have watched all the previous five movies and not this one, which is the sixth.)
My sister said to me, “I saw the new Mission Impossible movie.” I replied, “What did you think, wasn’t it awesome.” To which she tried to share my enthusiasm, but clarified, “Yea, but, I felt like I was missing some things. Was this like the second or third movie?” She remembers seeing the original in high school. I chuckled and informed her, “Um, this is actually the sixth movie. You have basically missed the entire plot build up since the third movie.” She laughed at the realization of her well-founded confusion. She wasn’t crazy; there was indeed a lot of back story leading up to and through Mission Impossible Fallout.
Her first half of high school was my middle school years. I remember walking to the local Wehrenberg Theatre in my town with a friend to see the first Mission Impossible with a famous actor named Tom Cruise (I didn’t even know what Top Gun was then). It was PG-13, and my parents allowed me to see it even though I was only twelve. A big deal for me, since watching PG-13 movies was supposed to wait until I was thirteen. It was action packed; it was the stuff I had only observed in posters and ads on tv. One of the most memorable scenes was when Ethen squished the red & green gum together to begin a chemical reaction which he threw at an aquarium, as his hand nicely crashed through a glass of water to wet the gum, so it stuck to the glass. It then exploded and shattered the aquarium siding and forced his adversary over, so he could jump through a broken glass window of the restaurant that had broken by an unfortunate employee who had shot through the said window from the previous explosion. He hurtled himself over water and sea creatures as they came pouring out of the restaurant. The other action scene, the most famous, was the silent repel down through an air vent in a CIA computer vault wearing glasses, a head set, grey rubber gloves, and a black suite. He did a front flip from being upside down in his harness to catch himself on the upright pivot, by the tip of his shoe on the computer table so that he could hack into the CIA database. Finally, the exploding jump from a helicopter inside a bullet train tunnel, landing on the front of the train with the helicopter blade spinning and stopping within an inch of slicing his neck open, was the epitome of what made the movie impossible.
If you walk out of the movie thinking, “These movies are ridiculous, over the top, not realistic and highly improbable,” you have missed the entire point of the name. Fallout accomplished this and more. With several nods to all the previous movies before it, Fallout was the perfect ending for Ethan Hunt or even a new beginning. Since the third movie, we were captivated by his greatest challenge to date, which was to protect the woman he didn’t just love but married. Julia was the woman he almost lost, who the bad guy extorted as Ethan’s only weakness and yet Ethan managed the impossible and saved her life and his. Since the third movie, he placed her in hiding; we saw Julia briefly in the fourth movie being looked after by Ethan. Then in the fifth movie, there was nothing, no mention of Julia. Enter, Fallout and the trailer. We see Julia, and we are ecstatic. She has lines and seems to have an actual roll in the movie. When I first watched the trailer I thought, did Imagine Dragons write a song for the movie? To my surprise, the song Friction came out in 2015. Somebody over at Paramount noticed the subtle similarity of this song and the Mission Impossible theme song. I was bummed not to hear it as the credits rolled, but it was perfect for peaking our interest.
All this background to bring us to one of the final scenes in which Ethan is recovering in an infirmary of sorts after having saved the day. Julia is by his side, but we already found out earlier in the movie that she had remarried and moved on. Ethan cut ties with her so that no one could ever touch her or use her as his weakness again. He loved her but couldn’t save the world and protect her at the same time. The conversation at the bedside, in my opinion, reflects the entirety of the character of Ethan Hunt from the first movie to now. His regret and the forgiveness given is what brought this fan almost to tears…okay maybe actual tears. Here is the dialogue:
Ethan: I’m sorry for everything…
Julia: My life, I love what I do, and I would never have found this if I hadn’t met you. Everything that happened, it taught me who I am. It showed me what I am capable of and I am a survivor.
Ethan: But what happened here…
Julia: Nothing happened…because you were here. And I sleep soundly knowing you always will be.
Ethan: You’re happy (Statement, not a question)
Julia: You’re right. I’m exactly where I should be, and so are you.
Who knew that such a profound life observation could be placed so deeply and eloquently in these movies? It took all six movies to bring us to this point that no other spy series could do. More heartfelt than any Bond movie, Bourne movie or any number of international espionage movies.
Ethan carried the regret of falling in love with Julia, almost getting her killed because of his actions, to placing her in hiding, to divorcing her to deciding it was best he didn’t even know her whereabouts. The entire ending was a small repeat of the third movie, Ethan trying to save everyone’s life and Julia’s life, who the main villain had found and intentionally brought her to the ending scene so Ethan would see her die. Of course, Ethan succeeded, but the writers nailed it.
Julia does not regret any bad thing that has happened to her. She carried no anger or ill-will toward her life. She did not play the victim or blame Ethan for all her troubles. She could move on, and she did just that. She was ready to die that day, knowing she had been given many second chances thanks to Ethen. Her words to him are priceless, “Everything that happened, it taught me who I am. It showed me what I am capable of and I am a survivor.”
As someone who is always seeking an answer to the big question we ask of God, “Why do you allow bad things to happen?” Julia has taught us the wisdom that people have carried for thousands of years. Suffering is part of our human condition; it makes you who you are. You can let it stop you, or you can embrace the unknown reasons for the pain and become a survivor. God allows bad things because he ultimately knows it isn’t forever, but he also wants to shape you through your suffering. Realize how much more you are capable of because of your experiences of hurt and change from a victim to a survivor.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV
In Truth & Love
Matthew J. Diaz