A.V. Club - There’s always been a degree of cheek to the Mission: Impossible film series, which for 15 years has offered a knowing, but generally exciting, take on a 1960s TV series that pitted mask-happy, gadget-wielding spies against megalomaniacal madmen. In both the film and TV versions, any resemblance to actual espionage was purely coincidental. Though J.J. Abrams’ Mission: Impossible III introduced some emotional stakes, the M:I movies have mostly served as a testing ground for how well a director could craft an exciting action sequence around Tom Cruise. Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol, the series’ fourth film, charges director Brad Bird with the task, betting that the animator behind The Incredibles and Ratatouille would have similar luck with flesh and blood in his live-action debut. The bet pays off. And then some.