Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One reactions: critics praise another Tom Cruise summer blockbuster

Tom Cruise on a motorbike in Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One
Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One (Image credit: Paramount Pictures and Skydance)

A little more than a year after saving Hollywood with Top Gun: Maverick (according at least to Steven Spielberg), Tom Cruise is back with another major blockbuster, Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One. The movie, the seventh in the Mission: Impossible franchise, had its world premiere in Rome on Monday, June 19, and critics who had the chance to see a screening of it offered their first Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One reactions.

What did they think of the movie that WTW has as our most anticipated blockbuster movie of summer 2023? Pretty much universal acclaim as it turns out.

"Fantastic," "incredible," "another winner for the franchise" are just some of the overall thoughts for the movie. One critic went as far as to say it was the "BEST 'MISSION' YET" (the of use all caps is theirs).

Some of the more interesting thoughts given on the movie came from IndieWire's Kate Erbland, who praised Dead Reckoning Part One as "the best job yet of recent 'part 1 of 2' features in feeling like its own film while setting up for the next half." That certainly has been a trend in recent years, with the likes of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, Dune and Dune: Part Two, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One and Two, and, also in 2023, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse

Another thing of note that stood out from the early batch of reactions was praise for Hayley Atwell's new character joining the series. The actress, best known for her role as Peggy Carter in the MCU, was called the "MVP" of the movie and is said to "steal every scene" she's in. 

It should also be of little surprise, considering Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie's track record, that people are praising the action in the movie, particularly the practice of the stunts, which includes what has been described as Tom Cruise's biggest stunt of his career. Critics said the movie has "some of the most well-defined and exhilarating set pieces" and "demands to be seen on the biggest screen."

There were a few things that the first batch of reactions was less enthused by — the villain played by Esai Morales seems to be among the big ones.

Overall, though, the buzz around Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One is only going to get louder after these initial reactions. Excited fans are certainly hyped about the early word.

Official reviews for Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One will come out closer to the movie's July 12 release date. 

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.