Fallout concerns itself with all the, ahem, consequences of cutting the head off the Syndicate serpent in the prior film. You see, all the employees left adrift were themselves well-trained spies, so they just kept on keeping on, and now Ethan Hunt and his team have to secure a few loose nuclear weapons.
Blah blah action-cakes and chases and things, but here’s what I found most interesting about this movie after you cut past the (at this point) recycled world-in-danger plots and revenge plots and double crosses and explosions and all: Tom Cruise isn’t smirking his way through each threat anymore. I’m not sure if it’s that he’s older, or that Ethan is older, or that the writers want me to buy that there’s more on the line than there used to be, despite prior plots centering on a highly transmissible and extremely deadly synthetic virus and on global thermonuclear war, and Ethan not having all the answers with a snap of his fingers is the way they thought of.
Whatever it is, I liked seeing them have to work for it this time.
 oh hey, I just got the double entendre
 Yes yes, Tom = Ethan, but I really do think there’s a meaningful distinction to be drawn between the two possibilities. Tom being older is about him also having a more realistic world view and admitting that all of these things shouldn’t come so easily as they do, even in a fantasy action world. Ethan being older is about his growing awareness of his own mortality in a body that is beginning to run out of steam a little faster than it used to, as well as his growing awareness that nobody can maintain a win streak forever.