So, you clicked on this article to find out what happens to Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One, right? And, what that show-stopping ending might possibly mean for next year's Part Two? Okay then, let's get to it.
Dead Reckoning Part One opens underwater, aboard the submarine Sevastopol, by introducing us to the threat of The Entity, a dangerous new AI that has gone rogue and seemingly gained sentience. As The Entity sets its own plot in motion, infiltrating major military defense systems and intelligence networks across the globe, the world looks to track down a pair of keys that once united can theoretically control and/or potentially destroy the AI. But, who's going to find this key?
Enter Ethan Hunt, who, since the events of Mission: Impossible - Fallout, has resumed his work with the IMF and is now training new recruits. He receives a new mission to track down old friend Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), who has gone dark ever since acquiring one-half of the key. Luckily, he already has a lead on her location, so he travels to the Empty Quarter, where he catches up to her right in the midst of a desert shootout. He promptly races into action, but is too late and Ilsa is seemingly killed. He later reports news of her demise to former IMF director Eugene Kittridge (Henry Czerny) after he acquires her half of the key, and gets briefed on The Entity.
Realizing that the AI is far too powerful and too dangerous for anyone to control, Hunt decides to do what he does best: go rogue and destroy The Entity before it can destroy the world. He links up with best pals Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) and Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and the three head off to Abu Dhabi to intercept the sale of the other half of the key. However, during their heist, an unexpected third party manages to swipe that half of the key and Hunt has to change course to track down the evasive Grace (Hayley Atwell).
A few threats present themselves here as Hunt realizes a figure from his past named Gabriel (Esai Morales) is involved with The Entity, and he's left what appears to be a nuclear bomb in the airport. While Benji and Luther manage to diffuse the bomb, Ethan decides they have to split up, so he sends them underground as he goes off in pursuit of Grace in Rome.
Upon arrival, he's able to track down Grace fairly easily as she's been arrested, but they're not alone. Gabriel is in the vicinity, with his top assassin Paris (Pom Klementieff), seeking the key and Hunt is also being followed by Community agents Briggs (Shea Whigham) and Degas (Greg Tarzan Davis). Cue an epic car chase that sees Ethan and Grace narrowly avoid capture and death, but Grace again gives Hunt the slip and he soon finds himself without answers. However, fortunately for him, he has good friends and is promptly picked up by Luther, Benji, and Ilsa!
Yes, Ilsa's alive! She and Ethan faked her death at the beginning of the film, so that she could get the bounty on her head removed and get completely off the radar until he was able to obtain the full key. After a romantic interlude, Ethan and Ilsa head to a party in Venice, where they learn that Grace was unwittingly working for Alanna Mitsopolis, a.k.a. the White Widow (Vanessa Kirby), who plans on selling the key to the highest bidder. Gabriel is also there, acting on behalf of The Entity, and hoping to the acquire the full key from her.
Hunt does his best to dissuade her but is unsuccessful, and Gabriel tells him that one of Ilsa or Grace will die tonight, an ominous prediction that apparently comes straight from The Entity's algorithm. Of course, Ethan isn't going to let that happen, so they all fight and Grace manages to run away with her half of the key in tow. Hunt and Faust chase after her, splitting up to divide and conquer. Hunt is getting directions from Benji, or so he thinks, as it's later revealed that The Entity has hacked Luther's comms system and is now leading Ethan down the wrong path, far away from the two women he's sworn to protect. He soon finds himself locked in a tight corridor with Paris and another assassin, both of whom he expertly takes out, although he does spare Paris' life.
Meanwhile, Grace does her best to get away but soon finds herself face-to-face with Gabriel, who engages her in a fight and swiftly takes her down. However, before he can kill her, Ilsa Faust steps in and challenges him to a sword fight. Their duel is pretty evenly matched, but Gabriel proves to be a more formidable foe than most and gains the upper hand, ultimately delivering a killing blow straight to her heart. He exits stage right as a devastated Ethan arrives on the scene a few seconds too late. He and Grace mourn Ilsa's sacrifice, but the job's not done yet, so they have to quickly leap back into action.
Ethan, Luther, and Benji regroup and formally invite Grace to join their team, an offer she accepts, and they begin to devise a plan for how they're going to reacquire the full key and stop The Entity. This involves Grace putting on her first mask to impersonate Alanna and meet her yet-to-be-revealed buyer. Luther decides to part ways with the team here and go into hiding to investigate how badly The Entity may have infiltrated his system. With a plan in place, Ethan, Benji, and Grace head off to Austria to board a train.
Now, on to the ending, Grace is able to successfully subdue Alanna and take her place, but Ethan is unable to join her since their mask machine broke at the most inopportune time, so he and Benji have to find another, more creative, way to get him aboard undetected. On the train, there are a lot of moving parts as nearly every person from the film converges in one place. Gabriel makes his grand entrance, killing the operators and causing enough damage to the train that it's unable to stop, and he then meets Denlinger (Cary Elwes) from the beginning of the film, who, in an unexpected twist, proposes an alliance between the DNI and the Entity.
Denlinger then reveals the purpose of The Entity and that the complete key unlocks a computer chamber in the Sevastopol - a submarine the Entity sunk in the film's prologue. An earlier version of The Entity was uploaded into submarine, with the hope that it would sabotage the sub's stealth capability, but The Entity had already broken bad and forced the submarine to destroy itself with its own missile. This beta version of The Entity is still believed to be aboard the Sevastopol, so whoever can access it, can either control it or destroy it entirely. After learning this, Gabriel kills Denlinger and nearly kills Paris too, who he had deduced was set to betray him after Ethan spared her earlier.
Elsewhere, Grace as Alanna finally meets the buyer and it's none other than Kittridge! He's hoping to get his own hands on the powerful AI, although he seems to be working on behalf of the IMF or, at least, someone that isn't evil. So, he wants to control it, not destroy it. Even though Grace does have an opportunity here to cut a deal and escape with a new identity and unlimited funds, she stays loyal to Ethan and steals the complete key back and manages to flee before the real Alanna wakes up.
If you're wondering where Ethan is, well, Benji is giving him an alternate route, which takes him further and further up a mountain. Once he reaches a point that's ahead of the train and high enough, he realizes that he's going to drive his motorcycle off the mountain at full speed and parachute onto the train. A piece of cake, right?
So, in the film's signature moment, Cruise pulls off the impossible and launches himself off said mountain and toward a moving train, arriving in the nick of time to save Grace from Gabriel. They do lose the key, but the pair are definitely thankful to see each other. Hunt then goes after Gabriel, while Grace tries to stop the runaway train. Hunt catches him atop the train and they finally face off in a pulse-pounding fight that a vengeful Ethan wins, but as he prepares to kill Gabriel, he's interrupted by Briggs and Degas, who bring him back to his senses, and he chooses to spare him, telling the two to arrest him. They are a little too late in taking action though, and Gabriel escapes!
Seemingly defeated, Ethan finds a panicked Grace and reassures her that the day is not lost, revealing that he is now in sole possession of the full key, having swiped it from Gabriel in their battle. No time to celebrate though as they have to stop this train or they're all going to die. With the brakes gone, they detach the back compartments, so that they don't all fall to their death, while Briggs gets everyone onboard to the front. Ethan and Grace then narrowly escape their own deaths by jumping inside the train, but before they're in the clear, they must painstakingly climb through cabin after cabin to get to safety. Just when it looks like things may go sideways, they're rescued by Paris, who survived her earlier attack.
As Paris begins to succumb to her wounds, she tells Ethan of Sevastopol and he gets ready to escape since he's likely to be arrested if he stays onboard. Unfortunately, he has to leave Grace behind, for now, but tells her to trust Kittridge and tell him that she wants to join the IMF, which she later does. Ethan then bids her farewell and jumps off the train, speedflying to safety, where he's picked up by Benji and the two race off to decipher Paris' message and what they have to do next to stop The Entity once and for all.
After all of that, we now know some of what to expect when Dead Reckoning Part Two arrives in less than a year, and those arctic set photos we saw earlier this year now make a lot more sense as Hunt and his team will be heading there to find Sevastopol. Hayley Atwell and Pom Klementieff were spotted on that set too, so we can probably assume that both Grace and Paris end up joining the IMF, and presumably Ethan's team in the next one.
So far, the returning Part Two cast will consist of Tom Cruise, Hayley Atwell, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Henry Czerny, Vanessa Kirby, Esai Morales, Shea Whigham, Greg Tarzan Davis, and Mariela Garriga. New faces include, but are not limited to, Rolf Saxon, Holt McCallany, Nick Offerman, Mark Gatiss, Charles Parnell, Janet McTeer, Hannah Waddingham, and Lucy Tulugarjuk.
Since the eighth film was initially billed as the franchise finale - could Ethan Hunt end up sacrificing himself in the next film? The jury's out on that one, but we're going to predict that he'll find a way to fight another day, as Cruise recently expressed interest in making Mission: Impossible films until he was 80. That's probably not realistic, but we'd never doubt Cruise, so he probably does have, at least, one or two more adventures in him after 2024.
In our review, we said, "Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One is the undisputed blockbuster movie event of the summer! Tom Cruise delivers yet another action movie masterpiece, packed with jaw-dropping spectacle, pulse-pounding action, heartfelt emotion, awe-inspiring performances, and an exhilarating chemistry opposite new leading lady Hayley Atwell that’ll have you begging for more."
In addition to Tom Cruise (Ethan Hunt), the cast features Hayley Atwell (Grace), Ving Rhames (Luther Stickell), Simon Pegg (Benji Dunn), Rebecca Ferguson (Ilsa Faust), Vanessa Kirby (Alanna Mitsopolis/White Widow), Esai Morales (Gabriel), Pom Klementieff (Paris), Mariela Garriga (Marie), Henry Czerny (Eugene Kittridge), Shea Whigham (Jasper Briggs), Greg Tarzan Davis (Degas), Charles Parnell, Frederick Schmidt (Zola Mitsopolis), Cary Elwes (Denlinger), Mark Gatiss, Indira Varma, and Rob Delaney.
In Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his IMF team embark on their most dangerous mission yet: To track down a terrifying new weapon that threatens all of humanity before it falls into the wrong hands. With control of the future and the fate of the world at stake, and dark forces from Ethan's past closing in, a deadly race around the globe begins. Confronted by a mysterious, all-powerful enemy, Ethan is forced to consider that nothing can matter more than his mission – not even the lives of those he cares about most.
Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One is now playing in theaters, and Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part Two is already slated to light the fuse in theaters next year on June 28, 2024.