The last three Mission Impossibles have all been pretty good. The whole idea of having a different director for each outing has served this franchise well. Since MI3 though, the series seems to have settled into a 'kind' of format. Big Action, even Bigger Stunts. That may have something to do with the fact that J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot production company has produced MI3, 4, 5 and will be producing 6.
Which brings me to why I've selected this one in particular to put into my favourite films list. Where MI3 had one of the best screen villains ever in Phillip Seymour Hoffman's (RIP) utterly ruthless and remorseless Owen Davian (still don't know what the 'Rabbits Foot' was eleven years later), Rogue Nation's villain Solomon Lane is the first MI villain to almost beat Ethan Hunt, forcing Ethan's team into new levels of 'ridiculousness' just to stay ahead of the sociopathic Lane. The secret weapon for Rogue Nation though was Rebecca Fergusson, whose performance as Ilsa Faust lifted the franchise to new levels, of more than anything characterisation. Her character obviously has a complexed background story which deepens with every interaction she has. She's a woman who you get the impression, is in slightly above her head and made desperate as a result of the mission that she has been given. Not 'above her head' because of any lack of skill or ingenuity on her part. She is one of the steeliest female characters that's been put up on the big screen for quite some time. But above her head, because the man she's trying to bring down, is absolutely without any conscience or empathy and obviously has 'a thing for her' which you sense makes her skin crawl. She wants out, but at every opportunity is forced back into his orbit. The Ilsa Faust character could probably carry a film in her own right in my opinion (her confrontation with the Bone Doctor toward the end of the film is just one example of that) and it would be interesting to see if they decided to do that. The best female spy to date, has been Angelina Jolie's Evelyn Salt, but Faust would probably give even her a run for her money.
It shows how well regarded this Mission Impossible is, in that pretty much everybody who was in this film, will be in the next film, including Faust and a return for Solomon Lane (in what capacity, is unknown at this time), the first villain to return in a subsequent episode. There definitely was something special about this conglomeration of characters and motivations.
Also, for the first time, Christopher McQuarrie will be returning to direct a second film in the franchise, which keeps trying to go one-up' on itself with every outing.
I for one, cannot wait for MI:6.
It will also be the first time Hunt's dead (but not really dead) wife Julia will be seen since MI:3 — Interesting...
I have a feeling I may have to expand this list once I've seen it.