The 24th entry in the Billion dollar James Bond franchise embarks on a more personal story for 007 as a figure from his mysterious past comes back to haunt him.
Daniel Craig's seemingly last 007 adventure has an all star cast, a story that promises to connect some dots and what looks to be the most personal villain for Bond yet. But even with all of this, Spectre fails to reach the emotional highs of predecessors Casino Royale and Skyfall.
The movie begins with a tremendously exciting if not slightly ridiculous opening scene set in Mexico's Dia de los Muertos (Day Of The Dead). The opening scene sets a good pace for the action which stays quite exciting throughout, but it's the story and characters which ultimately let Spectre down.
Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds) plays new Bond villain Franz Oberhauser whose villainous intentions are never quite clear. At first glance, the Oscar winner seems like the perfect choice for a Bond villain but Waltz never quite hits the right notes, never coming off as intimidating and his character's ark is entirely predictable, especially to those who are fans of the Bond franchise. Waltz has never managed to impress me in anything other than a Tarantino directed picture, and sadly Spectre doesn't change that. The film promises to be a more personal story for Bond, but even when some mysteries come to light, it never manages to feel personal, it just feels like another mission for the famed MI6 agent.
Waltz' evil Oberhauser is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to poorly executed characters. An underdeveloped subplot about the absorption of MI6 into another government agency which is focused on adding more surveillance to the government is constantly detracting from the main plot which frankly isn't all that interesting either, this plot centers around M (Ralph Fiennes), Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw) as well as the man in charge of the merger, Denbigh (Andrew Scott). The plot is so underdeveloped that none of the characters within it ever feel all to relevant with the exception of Q who actually gets a lot more to do this time around even venturing into the field once or twice. This story takes place in London whilst Bond is trekking the globe in search of the mysterious Spectre organisation.
Spectre, a name familiar with Bond fans. A mysterious, villainous terrorist organization led by Oberhauser. Once Bond discovers the organization, there isn't much else for it to do, so the filmmakers decided to lazily try and tie the organization into the previous Daniel Craig Bond films which ultimately comes off feeling like an afterthought, and forced into the plot to try and round off Craig's 007 series.
My personal favorite Bond film of all time is Casino Royale and a big aspect of that movie's success is the romance between Bond and his first real love, Vesper Lynd (Eva Green). Spectre tries to incorporate a similar romance between Bond and french actress Lea Seydoux (Blue Is The Warmest Color) who plays the daughter of Mr White, a character familiar to fans of the previous films. But their relationship is never given enough time to develop and the two end up in love within a matter of days which ends up coming off as rather contrived as we never really see the two connect on such a romantic level.
It may seem like I'm really bashing the latest Bond film but that's really because it shows so much potential. The first two acts are rather solid even with some of these complaints, it manages to be entertaining, the action is well done and the scenery is shot beautifully by DP Hoyte Van Hoytema (Interstellar). But the third act is where Spectre really falls off the rails. Once some painfully predictable truths are revealed, the finale ramps up and drastically shifts in tone to a more classic yet dull feeling Bond film. The pay-off to this drawn out story which takes up a far too long 148 minute film doesn't impress and left me wondering what exactly the story was.
Daniel Craig proved himself as a worthy 007 all the way back in 2006 with Casino Royale which transformed the character and 2012's Skyfall really progressed that change, but Spectre doesn't manage to pull off any type of progression, Bond is in almost the same exact place at the end of the film as he is at the start. The film doesn't attempt to have a big emotional moment in the finale like we've come to expect which makes the film seem like another throwaway adventure for the agent similar to Quantum Of Solace.
Because Skyfall was such a success, it's no wonder the filmmakers felt they had to up the ante in almost every way possible, hence the ridiculously long run time. Everything that you'd expect to see in a Bond film is in here; beautiful women, slick vehicles, exciting action scenes and a maniacal plot by the main villain are all in here but it really does fail to reach it's full potential because of too much being crammed in and none of it making the impact it should.
Spectre isn't the worst Daniel Craig Bond film, it's not necessarily even a bad film, it just wastes so much of it's potential and left me feeling almost completely unsatisfied. If you're an avid Bond viewer, then Spectre is worth a watch, but if not, this is a 2015 blockbuster you don't have to rush out to see.
Have you seen Spectre? If so, let me know what you thought of the movie in the comments or on Twitter @JamesPorter97