SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Mission: Impossible -- Fallout, in theaters now.
The Mission: Impossible series has always played up apocalyptic scenarios for Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt to defuse; whether it be nuclear warfare, viruses threatening mankind or the sale of weapons on the black market. While his villains do come from a selfish place, looking to profiteer off war, some of them are actually sociopolitically motivated.
In Fallout, director Christopher McQuarrie focuses on nuclear terrorism once more, but it simply isn't a plot tool. It's a big statement which doesn't get too preachy, though it does react in Fallout being the franchise's most political film to date.
In Rogue Nation McQuarrie dealt with the Syndicate, rogue agents acting as terrorists. Now, we fully understand what their ambitions are, as they've evolved into a group called the Apostles, who want to destabilize to kickstart a new world order. One that's free from corruption, mental enslavement and expolitation of the poor.
This is where McQuarrie addresses the themes of governments, as we learn that Apostles are assassinating select politicians and weakening regimes to help install folks they deem fit. That's why they're targeting the Kashmir border for their bombs, so as to kill off not just Pakistanis and Indians, but also to poison Chinese waters, which will cause a third of Earth's population to die. It's not as much about population control as it is sending a message to the world powers.
By their very existence alone, being former spies themselves, they're reminding these countries that the hitmen crippling them are actually monsters they made. That's why MI6 sends their own spy Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson) to kill the leader of the Apostles, Solomon Lane (Sean Harris). He was one of theirs and after disavowing Ilsa, the Brits have promised her a ticket back home if she completes the kill.
They don't him want him being shopped around to other governments such as America as they fear he'll spill their secrets, which is what the White Widow (Vanessa Kirby) and Co. are capturing terrorists for -- mining information. This also pits the CIA against Hunt, Alan Hundley (Alec Baldwin) and the IMF; as homeland security has become so self-serving.
Lane also takes jabs at organized religion, with bodies like the Vatican seen as something they need to take down. Such institutions restrict people's freedom, and the Apostles, ironically named, want the world to break free from such organizations' double-standards.
Everything's fair game to them, which is they also want to end humanitarianism, at least until they believe it's pure and honest. Charities to them are fronts for people playing politics, ergo why Lane plants two bombs at a medical site in Pakistan where doctors do charity work. Of course, it's an added bonus Hunt's wife, Julia (Michelle Monaghan) is there. Lane wants to increase disease, hunger and death globally because there must be "a great suffering" before there can be peace.
Even his top hitman August Walker (Henry Cavill) admits that while they may seem like a cult, they just want to fix things. Humanity is facing so many societal ills but still getting by, ignoring them and treating them instead of curing the issues plaguing. Lane has shaped the Apostles as this solution and they want to ensure the policy-makers, prime ministers and presidents to come are people with good intentions. Sadly, to get to this point, the blood to be spilled is too big a price for Hunt to pay.
Tom Cruise reprises his role as Ethan Hunt in Fallout, joined by returning co-stars Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust, Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell, and Simon Pegg as Benji Dunn, along with franchise newcomers Henry Cavill, Angela Bassett and Vanessa Kirby. Christopher McQuarrie, who wrote and directed 2015’s Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, is also back for its sequel. Also starring Rebecca Ferguson, Michelle Monaghan, Alec Baldwin, Sean Harris, Sian Brooke and Frederick Schmidt, Mission: Impossible — Fallout is in theaters nationwide.