Mission Impossible 7: Dead Reckoning 1 (2023, Christopher McQuarrie)

We prepped by rewatching part one, where Kittridge was a standout, just the gov’t boss who has to say all the plotty dialogue, but he turns it into a twitchy physical performance, so we were psyched for his big return. I think I got the plot here, but not the allegiances – Cruise and Kittridge are both trying to destroy the world-domination superconnected AI, but Kittridge’s guys (Shea Wigham from a lotta shows and a guy named Tarzan from Top Gun 2) keep shooting at Cruise. Thief Hayley Atwell is a welcome addition, comes fully onboard just as Rebecca Ferguson checks out. Rhames and Pegg are trying to be the tech help when tech can no longer be trusted. Weapons broker Vanessa Kirby (soon to be Joaquin’s Josephine) is excellent as herself and her mask-self. Human baddie Gabriel (Esai Morales of The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit) is both an AI stooge and a boogeyman from Cruise’s pre-agent past, who falls out with his muscle Pom “Mantis” Klementieff at the last minute. After a thousand sleight-of-hand tricks, Cruise has the key and knows it unlocks a beta version of the AI in a sunken submarine… somewhere in the world.