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Is “Mission: Impossible” the Only Franchise to Keep Getting Better With Age?

Is "Mission: Impossible" the Only Franchise to Keep Getting Better With Age?

I think so. It’s a bit of a toss-up, but I just barely prefer John Woo’s “Mission: Impossible II” to Brian DePalma’s initial adaptation of the “Mission: Impossible” TV series. I didn’t particularly like either of the first two installments, to be honest, but Woo’s style of action filmmaking kept me more engaged than that of DePalma, who couldn’t get me past that convoluted plot. I surprisingly loved “Mission: Impossible III,” apparently more than some others (and not just based on its disappointing box office). I mean, casting Philip Seymour Hoffman as the villain was all the work they needed to do, yet J.J. Abrams also elevated it by delivering the clearest and most character-driven film of the series.

And now I’m predicting that I’ll enjoy “Mission: Impossible IV” even more, thanks already to the hiring of Brad Bird as director (Abrams is sticking around as a producer). His animated features (“Iron Giant,” “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille”) prove his talent for visualizing and staging action, and I have faith that will carry over into live action. Today it was also reported that Jeremy Renner (“The Hurt Locker”), whose rising status will hopefully at some point get more people to see him in the great little indie “Twelve and Holding,” is co-starring along Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt’s sidekick and potential successor. That sounds like even more reason to think the franchise will keep getting better, with Renner expected to take over the lead role in further sequels.

The casting has taken some people by surprise, mostly because reports on “M:I4” casting just the other day had us believing Paramount was looking for a young up-and-comer (such as fellow “Hurt Locker” actor Anthony Mackie) for this sidekick/successor role. But Renner is only five years older than Cruise was when he began the franchise, and I think it’s a proper age for an agent to take on Hunt’s status.

Find out what other people are saying about the casting and whether this is a good or bad thing for the “M:I” series after the jump.

Francisco at The Movie Blog:

This is great news for MI fans. Renner is a great actor, who finally has received the attention he deserves. Getting him to play alongside Cruise is a great move. What’s left is to get a great actor to play the villain, a la MI3. Now, I’m really getting interested in this new sequel; I loved MI3. I’m so glad they are not going with the “I’m mentoring the young…” storyline.


Adam Rosenberg at MTV Movies Blog:

Renner is a great choice as a potential future torchbearer, should Cruise end his tenure as IMF agent Ethan Hunt. I also still think (hope?) that this fourth movie will end up framing Hunt as the villain (as opposed to someone who’s been framed to hide the one true villain), though Deadline states that he is “expected to return for a fifth installment.” Still, the Renner casting is pretty badass.


Matt Goldberg at Collider:

Renner definitely has the acting chops to hold down his own franchise (or two, if Hawkeye gets spun-off into his own movie post-Avengers).


Jordan Raup at The Film Stage:

I truly don’t think they could have gone with a better pick. Renner would be a fantastic person to carry on the series if need be.


Vince Mancini at FilmDrunk:

Jeez, imagine if we could get this level of talent working on something that wasn’t a fourth sequel to an adaptation of a 60s TV show, huh?


Paul Tassi at JoBlo.com:

I have to wonder if the part is staying as written. Cruise is 48, and Renner is 41. The studio was originally looking at much younger selections, as in addition to the three I mentioned, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy were being considered, and Renner just seems a bit old for a “young novice agent” role, don’t you think?

But whatever the plot ends up being, Cruise and Renner should be a powerhouse combo, and it appears this actually will be a project to look forward to after all.


Katey Rich at Cinema Blend:

So far as I’m concerned the more Renner the better, but it’s too bad it has to come at the expense of Mackie, who would have been a fascinating choice for the M:I 4 role. Can’t they just continue their Hurt Locker partnership and both get the part?


Alex Billington at First Showing:

Between playing Hawkeye in The Avengers, Ben Affleck’s The Town, and now this, Jeremy Renner is set to explode into the mainstream after his Oscar nominated role in The Hurt Locker […] I like Renner, he’s a great actor, I just hope he fits perfectly into the Mission: Impossible world.


Jame Gumb at Screen Junkies:

While Renner is a great actor, I really don’t understand the logic behind bringing him in. After Knight and Day bombed, it was reported that Paramount wanted a star to help compensate for Cruise’s waning box-office appeal. Is Renner the man for that job? If you really want this thing to be a hit, you need to cast Taylor Lautner or maybe The Situation. That’s how you get asses in the seats, damn it.


Kevin Jagernauth at The Playlist:

Like we said earlier about Mackie, Renner seriously doesn’t need this dreck which ranks high among our unnecessary sequels list, and we really hoped that when he turned down “Battleship” it was a sign he would stick to projects with a bit more….integrity.


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