'Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol': The Reviews Are In!

As Tom Cruise returns as superspy Ethan Hunt, critics roundly praise eye-popping action sequences and strong supporting cast.

Anyone wondering if the "Mission: Impossible" franchise still has life in it after more than five years away from the cinema should do a simple critical comparison. "Mission: Impossible III," which kicked off 2006's summer movie season, notched a 70 percent approval rating, according to the Rotten Tomatoes review aggregator. "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol," by contrast, is currently hovering at 93 percent freshness as it goes into wide release on Wednesday (December 21), following a limited, IMAX-only debut.

Tom Cruise, after the recent stumble of "Knight and Day," is back as an action hero at the age of 49; his IMF superspy Ethan Hunt has possibly never looked better, according to some critics. Reviewers have gone on to praise the film's eye-popping action sequences and the entertaining supporting cast. Read on for a deep dive into the "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" reviews.

The Story

"IMF has been disbanded by presidential order after being blamed for a terrorist bombing that destroys the Kremlin. So, do Ethan Hunt and the remaining members of his now-rogue spy team sit around worrying about their 401(k)s? Possibly they would in real life, but not in 'Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol,' a largely successful attempt to reboot the moribund franchise that turns out to be probably the most entertaining installment since Brian De Palma's series opener from 15 years ago." — Lou Lumenick, New York Post

The Dubai Skyscraper Scene

"This is a sequence so ingeniously conceived and shot that even the audience doesn't want to look down — a sequence so death-defying that it gets you laughing at your own susceptibility (especially if, like me, you happen to have a fear of heights). Shimmying up and down and around the building's surface, with the ground looking as if it must be a mile below, Cruise becomes a fearless human bug (think Spider-Man without the superpowers). Then, just as we're sure that our hearts couldn't dig any deeper into our throats, one of his gloves begins to short out and lose adhesive power." — Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

The Supporting Cast

"Simon Pegg, returning from his 'M:I' debut in the last film, provides a hugely welcome dose of lightness and comic relief as Benji, a meek British computer nerd who in this installment has finally managed to score a gig in the field. Paula Patton and Jeremy Renner, as new additions to Ethan's team, hit their marks with professionalism and physical competence, with Renner in particular proving that he's ready to assume the central role in the 'M:I' franchise if and when Mr. Cruise finally hangs up his carabineers." — Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post

The Dissenters

" 'Ghost Protocol' is a less a film than a vanity license plate writ large — a throwback to when all an action film needed was a bogus concept, chase scenes and a roman numeral in a title. ... Its collection of stock elements — nuclear strikes, beautiful women, exotic locales, fast cars, megalomaniac bad guy — could have been ordered from a 'when superpowers stalked the earth' clearance sale catalog. Twenty-five years ago it would have starred Roger Moore." — Duane Dudek, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Final Word

"Should you see 'Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol'? By all means, and in the big, big, biggest theater you can find. Don't watch it on TV, and for God's sake, don't download it to your phone. I recommend the LG IMAX Theater in Sydney, Australia, which is eight stories high, but your local multiplex will do. Be prepared, afterward, to feel as if the outside world is just a little bit too small." — Dan Kois, Slate

Check out everything we've got on "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol."

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