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Henry Cavill's Mission: Impossible Role Is The Perfect Critique Of His Superman

Henry Cavill in Batman v Superman and Mission Impossible Fallout

Warning: SPOILERS For Mission: Impossible - Fallout!

Henry Cavill assumes a role quite unlike Superman in Mission: Impossible - Fallout and it's a perfect response to his Man of Steel. Fans who mainly know the British actor for playing the symbol of truth, justice and the American way are in for a shock when they see Cavill in Fallout. Sporting his controversial mustache, Cavill plays August Walker, a CIA assassin sent to keep tabs on Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and recover plutonium cores stolen by a terrorist network called the Apostles that plans to use them to detonate nuclear weapons. Yet Walker is much more than he appears to be.

In Mission: Impossible - Fallout, Walker is actually the main villain. He is secretly a fanatical anarchist who communicates his beliefs in a manifesto: "There cannot be peace without, first, a great suffering. The greater the suffering, the greater the peace." The assassin is working several plans at once; while pretending to be allies (and friendly rivals) with Ethan, he's simultaneously framing Hunt by making the CIA believe Hunt has turned traitor and become "John Lark", a mysterious broker representing the Apostles. Meanwhile, Walker also helps Hunt free Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), the imprisoned former leader of the Syndicate, who was captured by the IMF in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation. Lastly, Walker has also been the "guardian angel" to Ethan's former wife Julia (Michelle Monaghan), and part of his scheme is to detonate a nuclear warhead in Kashmir that would not only send on third of the world's population into mass starvation, but the blast would kill the love of Ethan's life. So, August Walker is not at all like Clark Kent.

Related: Mission: Impossible Is Now Better Than James Bond

However, the evil intentions and nefarious acts by August Walker echo how politicians and civilians alike in the DCEU (including Batman) suspected Superman was a wolf in sheep's clothing in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman. Before Justice League retconned Superman into a beloved hero the world desperately needed, the most powerful man in the world was a symbol of controversy. For Cavill, taking on the villainous role in Mission: Impossible 6 wasn't just a chance to make a globe-hopping action film opposite Tom Cruise, it also served as a satisfying response and counterpoint to his best-known role.

August Walker Is The Anti-Superman

August Walker is a fearsome guy. Though he's outwardly handsome, even upon his introduction as the agent handpicked by CIA Director Erica Sloane (Angela Bassett) to oversee Ethan and the IMF's operation, he's presented in an antagonistic way. Immediately, he's at odds with Hunt, trying to one-up him and mocking his concerns of diving through a thunderstorm during their 25,000 foot HALO jump over Paris, putting his life and Ethan's in serious danger. His rivalry and animosity with Hunt continues throughout the film, even as Walker hangs back and lets Ethan take the lead. When Walker is tricked into revealing himself as the villain, he becomes the most relaxed he's been throughout the movie, as he no longer has to pretend. The CIA killer feels he has all the cards and has the upper hand on Ethan until the climactic helicopter chase and fight where our hero finally gets the best of him.

Cavill seems to relish playing someone who is at first containing his malevolence and then gets to cut loose and be truly evil. Walker secretly wields more power than he outwardly admits and he's hellbent on destruction. In this way, the actor is riffing on how he played Superman. In the films directed by Zack Snyder, the Man of Steel seemed to always struggle to do the right thing. He's always holding back his true capacity for destruction, something that fed the public's (and Batman's) mistrust of Superman. Of course, Superman was always a good person at his core, and the fact that he is physically attractive offsets some of the menace projected by a being of such earth-shattering power.

August Walker, meanwhile, is rough and brutish even when he's in his guise as a CIA agent (the mustache helps dilute Cavill's leading man looks). He's the worst of what Clark Kent could be, and there are no bright and heroic colors hidden underneath his suit. Mission: Impossible - Fallout even robs Cavill of his looks by the end; spilled aviation fuel scars him and melts away half of his face, making August look even more monstrous and berserk during his climactic fistfight with Ethan. Considering all the deaths Walker caused and planned to cause, his physical deformity finally synched up with the monster he always was within. This villainous persona was as far from Superman as Cavill could get. It's no wonder he fully embraced the role.

Next Page: What Mission: Impossible - Fallout Reveals About Superman

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Key Release Dates
  • Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018) release date: Jul 27, 2018
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