Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows are this season’s action-packed blockbusters. If you are in the mood for some mindless fun and excitement (come on, who isn’t) and don’t want to have to work too hard to follow the plot then these two movies are the right ones to see.
The two movies have a few things in common. They are both over two hours, have great special effects, the plots are a little overly convoluted, and most importantly they are better than the preceding movie in their series. They also do not take themselves too seriously.
Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol picks up with Ethan Hunt in prison and from there goes through a bunch of frankly awesome action sequences full of massive explosions, elaborate disguises, and a couple of truly memorable scenes. (I am sorry for running out of superlatives.) Tom Cruise’s hand-picked new team in the movie is charismatic, including Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton and Simon Pegg (who is very funny). The stand-out scenes are the magnetic suit that makes Jeremy Renner able to fly above a large fan, the rotating car garage that Tom Cruise must jump off various levels of, and the most spectacular is the scene in Dubai where Cruise seems to have nothing holding him to the outside windows of an unnaturally high hotel but a pair of gloves (he actually did this stunt himself but with a cord). That last scene leads to an incredible amount of palm-sweating (or at least it did on my part). Besides being an action-scene expert, Tom Cruise brings his always sincere intensity to the movie.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is more fun than its predecessor. There are more twists and turns and we get back to the better core of the film, the funny relationship between Holmes and Dr. Watson. Thankfully Robert Downey Jr.’s accent is a little more understandable this time around. Noomi Rapace sadly has nothing to do but we finally get to see Sherlock Holmes’ real nemesis, Professor Moriarty. At times there is too much going on but it is easy to see that Guy Ritchie is having a good time here. The special effects, especially one of the ending scenes on a never-ending waterfall, are spot on.
Both movies have endings that open up for a new adventure. It never ends, say you? Yes, it never ends.