My fondness for the Mission: Impossible series is more personal than other movie franchises. It started with Brian De Palma’s adaptation, which happened to be the first movie I ever saw on opening day – a formative experience for any film buff. The second Mission: Impossible hasn’t aged well (what John Woo movie has?), but J.J. Abrams‘ follow-up is one of the better thrillers from the past decade. This reflection is useful for Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, the fourth entry, because my fondness is almost enough for me to forgive it when it falters. Almost. Helmed by Pixar’s Brad Bird, Ghost Protocol is gripping when it resembles a cartoon and a slog when its characters offer bloated exposition.