Since me and The Wife™ are Mission:Impossible fans from Back In The Day™, we watched the debut of the M:I "franchise" (and, since when have a two-going-to-three movie series qualified as a "franchise"...or do people just like using that word) with a bit of trepidation.
After all, here's someone who's acting we liked but were disturbed by just about everything else about him (of course I mean the inimitable Mr. Cruise, and we feel history's vindicated us on that point) and he was going to make a major motion picture out of a series that was one and a half of the top two series ever done.
I can say this with confidence: our bona fides include about eighteen hourse of Mission bought legitimately and at least twelve (if not more) hours of eps 'legged off of the FX network about ten years back.
So what happens? Jim Phelps turns out to be a traitor and dies, and Ethan Hunt (who seems to be a postmodern version of Rollin Hand with a bit of Paris dashed in there for spice) becomes "disavowed", which apparently is actually a subclass of IMF operatives who somehow live without being constant targets of assasination. Who knew? But on balance, the series vibe seemed to be there somehow, especially in the end when Ethan Hunt is given the mission tape aboard a plane and there is a sense here of the torch being passed.
Also the scene in the Channel Tunnel kicked teh ass, major ways.
M:I II proved that if the torch had been passed, the new bearer picked it up by the wrong end, burned himself, put it out, then ran with it in the other hand and didn't light it up again. The reviewers called in Mission:Cruise. My The Wife™ pronounced it unwatchable, returning it to the video store after watching it a mere fifteen minutes. She likey her action flicks; she likes Hong Kong-style action films; loves John Woo; hated, hated, hated M:I II. Go figure.
Now, we have M:I III, or as I like to think of it, M:I AiYiYi. We haven't gone to see it and were're not going to.
And why can be be so sure?
Peep this article and you'll understand why the Cruise-rendered "franchise" isn't really worth your time. This writer says it a whole lot better than I ever could.