Decided to follow up MI3 with MI-Ghost Protocol, since I've never seen that one before, either.
The wife and I enjoyed it. The typical MI formula of espionage with over the top action is here. This one seemed to focus a bit more on the former, and it's done really well. However, the sweet, sweet action is still here. For instance, the scene with Tom/Ethan scaling the Burj Khalifa is exciting and excellently nerve-wracking. One thing I noticed, and liked, was that there is also a good bit of humor injected into the mix. Especially compared to the previous films in the series. There is also a stronger focus on the team aspect, not centering around Ethan as much as before.
Tom still looks fantastic for his age, but you can tell he is getting older. Still, he plays the part of Ethan just as well as before. Still running around like crazy (although I have to say the scene of him running from the blast of a certain important Russian building is unintentionally hilarious in its execution). It was nice to see Simon Pegg have a bigger role in this one. I love that dude. I also really like Jeremy Renner, and of course he was a good addition here, as he pretty much is to any movie. The scene with him working up the courage to jump down a shaft/duct is damn funny. I was sorry to see Ving Rhames was reduced to a cameo (albeit a good one), but that's just how it is, I guess...
There's not much more to say that I didn't say in the MI3 review. Don't get me wrong, this entry is not more of the exact same. This film had a different director (Brad Bird, I believe), so there is a bit of a different feel to it. The circumstances the team is operating under are quite a bit different than the previous films, as well. More than enough going on to keep it feeling fresh. As far as having a favorite in the series, I'd easily say it's a toss up between this one and MI3. As I said before, if you enjoyed the previous films, you will like this one.