So I finally went and saw Mission Impossible: Rouge Nation (applause emoji) and while I absolutely loved it, I walked away thinking that it was becoming similar to the Bond franchise, specifically with it’s over sexualized and constantly recast female characters. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
Each Bond film has a different woman to play Bond’s affection, damsel, or femme fatale. In Mission Impossible it’s practically the same thing. And in case it’s not apparent, there’s major spoiler alerts for all the Mission Impossible films below.
Introducing a young and naïve Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), harbouring feelings for his mentor (and boss’) wife. His team abruptly gets killed and Ethan gets blamed, but not to worry, his dream woman survived and together they work to clear their names and discover who really killed their team (and her husband).
Of course, Ethan soon discovers this was all an elaborate hoax, and his mentor and wife were in on it, hoping to kill everyone and take the money (you know, the American Dream). Poor Ethan, he was #Betrayed. Now this plot of a woman pretending to be good whilst actually being bad can be found in the James Bond film Dr. Do with the character Miss Taro.
Mission Impossible 2
Year later, Ethan Hunt is back! This time, he falls for a thief, but must send her undercover so that he can stop an evil man and save the world (as one does). Now which Bond movie was it when he had to save the girl again? And honestly, other than being a damsel in distress, is her character really important? Like at all?
Mission Impossible 3
Arguably, my favourite film of the franchise, this had all the Bond attributes: a beautiful car exploding? Check. A beautiful girl in a dress with a slit that doesn’t further the plot of the film? Check. Crazy stunts? Check. A villain that makes Ethan hunt do his dirty work? Check. In this film, the leading lady was Ethan’s wife. He quit the business and tried to live a normal life, buuuut that didn’t really take. He ends up having to leave her behind. Does this remind you of Casino Royale at all?
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
New movie, new crew, new girl. His team from the last film pretty much don’t matter in Ghost Protocol. His wife from the third film is no longer relevant, the woman on his team (as seen above) is motivated by wanting revenge on another female character that’s your typical villain (she loves diamonds and may as well play a villain in any Bond film) that killed the man she loved. All the while, she’s seen flirting with Ethan Hunt.
Perfect, so we have a capable agent in the film (finally, and unlike Maggie Q’s character in Mission Impossible 3, who was there purely for eye candy) but her entire story is being tied to men. This. Just. Screams. Bond. Girl.
Mission Impossible: Rouge Nation
In this film, we have a new girl (of course) who’s also an agent, also bad ass, also hot, also flirts with Ethan, and also wears a sexy dress with a slit (are you seeing a pattern here?). However, she’s definitely a step up, her actions are driven by her love for her country, her job, and wanting to do what’s right. She saves Ethan on multiple occasions and can hold her own in a fight. And, let’s not forget that she takes down the films main henchman which was awesome to see.
So what will become of her? My guess is we’ll never see her again. Next film will have some other hot girl doing the same thing. Because while all the men get to stay in the franchise and further their characters, the women are sadly disposable….just like in James Bond.