Managed to catch your breath after watching the Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One trailer? We hope so, because here's our breakdown of the highlights.
Tom Cruise returns as Impossible Mission Force agent Ethan Hunt for a story that pushes the character to even greater physical and mental limits. All the while, we're increasingly questioning the divide between actor and character...
Regardless, the new Mission movie is on its own mission to one-up the breathtaking stuntwork seen in the previous movies. And there are plenty of devious callbacks to the history of the franchise...
1. Kittridge returns
Henry Czerny's mysterious IMF chief found himself at odds with Ethan Hunt back in the original Mission: Impossible movie, released in 1996.
Their most famous sequence was the Viennese restaurant stand-off, replete with director Brian de Palma's paranoid canted angles and an explosive fishtank finale.
The exact reasons for Kittridge's return are unclear at this stage. He may well be stepping in for Alec Baldwin's ex-IMF chief who was killed in Mission: Impossible - Fallout.
Even so, it's clear that time has failed to heal all wounds. The tone of Kittridge and Hunt's conversation in the Dead Reckoning trailer apes the suspicion and paranoia that was evident in the first movie.
Kittridge appears to be putting Hunt to the test in a moral sense, advocating him to take a side. As we know in the Mission: Impossible movies, these are normally demarcated between good and evil. But will Hunt be compelled to take up more of a morally ambivalent middle ground on Kittridge's orders?
2. There's a neat throwback to the first movie's magic trick
Notice the moment where Hunt magics out of mid-air in front of Hayley Atwell's character? That's another clear reference to the first movie in which Hunt demonstrated a playing card trick to Claire (Emanuelle Beart).
Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie may well be bedding in multiple references to the wider history of the Mission: Impossible franchise. It may serve to reinforce that the past is never dead and buried; this was a theme that lent Fallout a great deal of dramatic urgency, so we can't wait to see it expanded upon.
3. The cast has expanded even further
Rebecca Ferguson's Ilsa Faust, Simon Pegg's Benji, Ving Rhames' Luther Stickell and Vanessa Kirby's White Widow all play a part in the narrative. (Curiously, there's no sign of Sean Harris' villainous Solomon Lane – maybe he'll be back in Dead Reckoning Part Two?)
As mentioned, there are prominent roles for franchise newcomers Hayley Atwell, Esai Morales, Pom Klementieff, Shea Whigham, Cary Elwes, Rob Delaney and Indira Varma.
None of the characters have been apportioned names yet, and their motivations are up for question. (Hayley Atwell has described her character as vacillating between good and bad.)
A quick shot of Elwes appears to establish him as some sort of right-hand man to Kittrige. We wonder if he will turncoat, as per many of the lackeys in the Mission: Impossible franchise?
4. The scale encompasses more of the globe than ever
Norway and Italy give way to, erm, North Yorkshire and (double erm) Birmingham in the latest Mission: Impossible movie. The humble Yorkshire town of Levisham is where Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One's spectacular-looking train derailment was captured, so eat that, Hollywood.
5. Tom Cruise pushes himself even further
If the Top Gun sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, wasn't enough, the new Mission: Impossible adventure cements Cruise as the showman par excellence of our times.
From fighting with Esai Morales on top of a moving train in Norway to a clifftop bike jump that leads into a base jump, Cruise is on a one-man journey to revalidate the theatrical blockbuster experience after two choppy years.
We must also applaud the trailer itself for steadily building to a thunderous crescendo of physics-defying action, along with the familiar strains of the classic Mission: Impossible theme. Our emotional response is, naturally, heightened due to our awareness of the main star's commitment.
How on Earth is Cruise going to top this in Dead Reckoning - Part Two? And how many times have we found ourselves asking that of each subsequent Mission: Impossible movie? (Too many.)
Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One is released on 14th July 2023 (yes, we have to wait a while) with Part Two due for release on 28th June 2024.