Mario’s Movies: Best Film of the Summer, 2018 Edition

By Mario Ricciardi

What we see in most movies are fake. For instance, this summer we saw fake superheroes (lots of them: the Avengers, Deadpool, the Incredibles, Ant-Man, the Wasp), fake dinosaurs, fake spies, fake space (with fake Wookies) and fake soldiers (Benicio Del Toro).

Even great movies portrayed as real are fake (I’m looking at you “Eighth Grade”). This element of artificiality is crucial to movie making, so why do movies matter so much to us in the real world? Because what they stir up within us is real. With that in mind, my favorite movie of summer 2018 is a movie that fully balanced the illusion of movie with the risks and grit of reality.

For me, “Mission Impossible: Fallout” stunted its way to the best movie of the summer. Lead by Tom Cruise, the “Mission Impossible” team and its production once again took death defying stunts to the max. Fronting green-screen-less helicopter aerobatics, helmet-less motorcycle chases against traffic, leaping tall buildings and fight choreography on the edge of a cliff.

Now wait, I have to mention it takes more than just a lack of personal safety to rise to the top of my movie lists. What “Fallout” manages to do is mesh the grace and thrills of world class action sequences with a visually stylish and engaging spy flick.

The sixth installment of the M:I franchise forces Ethan Hunt and team join forces with CIA assassin August Walker to prevent yet another disaster of epic proportions. Villain John Lark returns, accompanied by a group of terrorists known as the Apostles. Their plan? To use plutonium cores for simultaneous nuclear attacks around the world. After the cores go missing, Ethan and his crew must race against time to prevent the plutonium from falling into the wrong hands.

As if plutonium never made its way into a spy movie before, right? It’s a seemingly classic espionage tale of epic proportions with just enough twist and turns to keep you guessing. What keeps you on the edge of your seat is the handsome cast, in handsome sets and locations, making the impossible possible. To match Cruise, supporting Actor Henry Cavill, who plays the mysterious yet brutal August Walker, fought to perform as many of his own stunts as possible.

Cavill managed every single stunt except for the HALO Jump scene at Cruise’s specific insistence that special training was especially needed for the feat. Ensembling Cavill in supporting roles includes a hilarious Simon Pegg, a threatening Angela Bassett, a classy Rebecca Ferguson, and Ving Rhames making the absolute best out of his time on screen.

The movie excellently blends plot, pacing, performance and action that packs a punch. It’s not just fake action, and its fake characters feel very real. There’s lots to look at, including a great execution of on screen spatial relationships. The story goes all out and so did the people behind it to bring us, the audience, real thrills.

Tom Cruise famously broke his ankle jumping across buildings, only to recover in record time to complete shooting. As he upped the antics, so did his co-stars. Ultimately, these people risk their lives to entertain people and when that kind of dedication pays off, it pays off in the best kinds of ways aka, “Mission Impossible: Fallout.”

???? (4/5 Penguins)