Mission: Impossible III was directed by J.J. Abrams. He was also the creator of the television show “Alias”. That TV show used long pre-title sequences, so it is no surprise that Mission: Impossible III has a pre-title sequence, although it is short by “Alias” standards.
The movie’s pre-title sequence has a unique twist among spy movies. Namely, the pre-title is taken from a climactic scene from later in the movie. We are led to believe that Julia is shot to death just as the fuse is lit starting the title sequence. At this point, we don’t know who Julia is. When you see the scene again in the latter part of the movie, a twist is revealed: the woman who was shot was not Julia, but rather she was Davian’s translator and head of security wearing a mask to look like Julia.
Early in the Mission: Impossible films, the series takes the audience in one direction and later swings a completely different direction, often with the use of masks. In Mission: Impossible (I) the audience is led to believe that Jim Phelps “dies” when the mission goes wrong. In reality, he wasn’t dead, but he staged it to look like he had died which we don’t find out about until flashbacks later in the film. In Mission: Impossible II, the plane taking Dr. Nekhorvich is commandeered by Sean Ambrose who used a mask to make the audience believe that it was Ethan Hunt doing the bad deed.