YMMV / Mission: Impossible

Works in this franchise with their own YMMV pages:

The TV series:

  • Crowning Music of Awesome: Lalo Schifrin's iconic theme tune, still used in parodies and commercials to this day.
    • Special mention to Schifrin's scoring during the church climax of "The Heir Apparent" with Cinnamon trying (with some previously supplied help from Barney) to open a puzzle box that only the woman she's impersonating - who is absolutely not Anastasia - could have opened; this particular cue gets reused often in later episodes. And yes, she does get it open.
      • You can now get a boxset of music from throughout the series, via La-La Land.
  • Ear Worm: It goes hand-in-hand with the Crowning Music of Awesome. Everybody knows the Mission Impossible theme song.
    • If you watch a few episodes, you'll also find the incidental music running through your head.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Landau quickly eclipsed star Steven Hill, even though he was only intended as an occasional guest star.
  • Fair for Its Day: Barney Collier, played by Greg Morris, was The Smart Guy in a band of geniuses. Also, while Cinnamon's primary task was to provide distractions, everyone treated those distractions as vital, and Cinnamon was clearly a respected team member.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: "Action!" centered around a staged film purporting to show atrocities committed by American troops in Vietnam. In light of what was later revealed, it gets uncomfortable fast. On the other hand, the episode also takes some self-deprecating jabs at the movie business and this part resonates as well as it ever did. Some things never change.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In "Encore," William Shatner plays a 60-year-old gangster who's de-aged by the IMF for several hours. The show's idea of an old William Shatner is a bit at odds with how he really turned out...
  • Hollywood Homely: "Homecoming" features a mystery concerning the murders of young, beautiful women. It turns out that the killer is a local barmaid, ostensibly unattractive, who is jealous of how much attention the pretty women get from a man she is in love with. The homely barmaid is played by Loretta Swit.
  • Magnificent Bastard: So very many.
    • Special mention has to go to Briggs, however. This was a guy who, in "The Carriers," left an entire town of Russian spies to die from bubonic plague.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • The show's whole concept - Impossible Mission is a trope of its own.
    • The theme tune still represents clever operations to outwit a target, from jewel heists to squirrels looking for nuts.
    • "This tape will self-destruct in five seconds" - especially popular for parodies, where the self-destruct is often over-powered and bad news for the person close to it.
  • Narm: "Some of that dialogue is terrible, isn't it?" - Mission: Impossible writer-producer William Read Woodfield. Example, from "A Game Of Chess" (which Woodfield and his partner Allan Balter, in fairness, did not write):
    Jim: Then we're all set except for the typhoid. Who's got it?
    Rollin: I do.
  • Narm Charm: The series is ridiculous and often centers around problems governments would generally solve in a far more straightforward way (as Martin Landau pointed out, "In reality, there'd be an assassination"). But it's still a lot of fun to watch.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Dr. Doug Robert for Willie Armitage in most of the fifth season. He was written out early on in season 6 while Willie returned to the IMF team full time.
  • Values Dissonance: Originally, the IMF were a group of people choosing to use their specific talents in spy work purely for the good of their nation. (Starting in 1966, still the era of "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.") This wouldn't have worked in the 1996 movie, so it made the IMF a deeply covert part of the US intelligence services. Even in the time of Richard Nixon, the idea of American agents covertly manipulating foreign countries as heroes was going out of fashion, and in later seasons the IMF spent most of their time working their wiles on organised crime at home. (Although in the revival and the movies they got to travel around the world again.)

The films in general:

  • Crowning Music of Awesome:
    • The Mission: Impossible theme. The version in the first film even made it onto top-ten charts around the world. The movie version is so closely associated with Tom Cruise that it's the background music in the infamous "Happyology" award video that kicked off the Anonymous protests against "Happyology". If you listen closely you'll notice there's no looping, someone is actually strumming the Mission Impossible theme for about fifteen minutes. Ghost Protocol's version, "Light the Fuse", is just insane.
    • Once you get beyond the theme tune, the films's scores are pretty awesome as well (Danny Elfman did the first one, Hans Zimmer the second, Michael Giacchino the third and fourth and Joe Kraemer the fifth). Of particular note is "Kremlin with Anticipation" from Ghost Protocol, with the Ominous Russian Chanting.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Fans of the original series like to pretend the films never existed mainly due to Phelps turning out to be a villain.
  • Ear Worm: You're now hearing the theme song in your head, and it will be stuck there for quite some time.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Ving Rhames who is the only actor besides Tom Cruise to appear in all of the films.
    • Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner have become the only actors aside from Cruise and Rhames to appear multiple times as a team member.
  • Even Better Sequel: An unusual case where each film has (bar John Woo's entry, see below) received better critical reviews than the last one, with many calling Ghost Protocol the best installment. Rogue Nation was also just as critically acclaimed.
  • Recycled Script: Both the first and third movie involve Ethan being set up by a mole in IMF who isn't revealed until near the end, and who tries to frame the boss of the organization who spends time as an Anti-Villain trying to hunt down Hunt, with the audience left unclear if its because the boss really thinks Hunt is a traitor or because the boss is the traitor. In both their actions force Ethan to go rogue and steal the MacGuffin that the bad guys are after for them, and in both The Mole is in league with an arms dealer. Each movie sees Hunt's family being dragged into the plot to get at him, sees a fairly traditional IMF plot go off without a hitch only for the team to be ambushed after the fact, and features a reference ot Ethan evading airport security despite IMF putting "a guy at the airport".
  • Sophomore Slump: While some moviegoers appreciated the easier-to-follow storyline, the second movie is considered inferior despite the flashy action. The third film was seen as much better and getting things back on track. The fourth and fifth are the best reviewed films in the series.

The first film: