I’ve watched Ghost Protocol a few times and something that makes me enjoy it all the more is the fact that Jeremy Renner took the place of what is typically the role of a token female character in testosterone-charged action flicks:
the sexual object, and the seemingly shoehorned character whose backstory and/or motivation is centered around the male main character, who can be removed from the plot without real consequence but is essentially a likable character anyway
It is so refreshing because we get to see Paula Patton fill the role of the “second in command”, trusted friend figure which is commonly filled by a male character. There were instances in which she was sexual, but not sexualized—in that she had full control of when and how she employed her sex appeal. She’s not forced into impractical catsuits, she’s largely a competent agent who isn’t wasted on random fanservice shots, and she fills even the role of “vengeful character seeking justice for a dead loved one” which is, again, often filled by a male character. There’s no awkward forced romance of any sort between her and Ethan, and even their shared kiss never holds anything more than trust and friendship. She’s never overly masculine, so even when I say she’s taking on the role traditionally taken by a male character, it’s not a cheap “replace male with female” shtick that many films seem to favor.
Meanwhile the camera loves Jeremy Renner’s ass and how his personal emotional and moral crises center on Ethan Hunt
Add all that to the fun, action-packed, well-written little adventure that didn’t make me feel uncomfortable even once, Brad Bird has done a good thing with Ghost Protocol.