Confession #1: I've never seen the any of the first three Mission Impossible movies. I entered this movie with a couple of tidbits of knowledge (the theme song, the "your mission should you choose to accept it" bit, etc.) about the series, but I didn't know much about it. I didn't even know Tom Cruise's character's name (It's Ethan Hunt, by the way.).
Confession #2: Having recently seen the fantastic The Avengers, I couldn't help but compare Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol to it. I know they're not really that alike (one takes place in a world of superheroes and aliens, and the other at least pretends to maintain a facade of realism), but, in my defense, both are action films. Plus two weeks after seeing it, The Avengers is still pretty fresh on my mind.
Despite all of that, I really enjoyed Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. It's not like gadgets and fighting sequences take a lot of back story to figure out. Sure there was a bit of a story in the movie, but it was just there to provide a framework in which to put the aforementioned action and gadgets.
The actors that made up the main team (Tom Cruise, Paula Patton, Simon Pegg, and Jeremy Renner) had nice chemistry and worked well together. I especially appreciated that there wasn't much of a romance storyline among the cast. There are mentions of outside romances that tie into the story and one flirty moment, but there's not much of a featured love story to dilute the action. I can definitely enjoy love stories in action films if they're done well (the one in Captain America springs to mind), but it was refreshing to see an action film that's content to simply be an action film.
I'm probably not the best person to judge the action in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol because I'm not the biggest action movie buff, but I thought it was really well done. There were plenty of fun sequences, and I found the action to be really exciting. The movie is fairly long at a 133 minute run time, but its quick pace and almost non-stop action make those minutes go by quickly. There were several moments where I thought "that looks really cool." The same train of thought applies to the gadgets. I found it kind of funny that a lot of the gadgets were Apple-based, but the Apple logos did somewhat help to give the gadgets a realistic feel.
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol's biggest weaknesses are in its non-action related moments. Most of the quips and funny moments didn't really work for me. They weren't terrible, but they weren't particularly good. In The Avengers (sorry guys, but you had to know I was going to mention it again), the dialogue and jokes were just as strong as the action. There were a plethora of quotable lines, and the movie got plenty of laughs from me. I'm not sure I laughed once in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, but if I did it was probably at the visual humor of one of the stunts.
Probably my biggest disappointment with Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol was Josh Holloway's lack of screen time. This is a silly personal qualm, but I was really expecting him to have a bigger role. I'm pretty sure I saw him doing promo for the movie, but that's ridiculous considering he couldn't have had more than a few minutes of screen time. What can I say? I'm a Sawyer fan.
In all seriousness, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol is a fun blockbuster that makes a great summer film. Is it a deep film? No. Does it offer much beyond gadgets and action? No. Is it as good as The Avengers? A world of no. But it is a solid action movie that's well worth watching.