By Nico Beland
Movie Review: B- (3 stars)
Daniel Craig (The Golden Compass, Cowboys & Aliens) is back as James Bond under Skyfall’s Sam Mendes direction once more in the twenty-fourth installment of the long running 007 film franchise, based on Ian Fleming’s characters and novels, Spectre. It’s quite impressive how long this franchise has gone for, dating back to the 60s with Dr. No, the film that made Sean Connery a household name and the film that made 007 a staple of cinema history.
After countless installments and actors portraying the characters, good and not-so-good, James Bond seems like a franchise that will never end. Especially after the extremely successful box office results of the previous Bond film, Skyfall, obviously James Bond will keep returning, sequel after sequel, actor after actor.
Which leads us to Spectre, which I wasn’t expecting to top the adrenaline rush of Skyfall, but casting Oscar winner, Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained, Big Eyes) as the film’s villain after the widely praised Javier Bardem villain performance in Skyfall, I naturally got excited to see Waltz in another villain role. And I pretty much got what I expected, not as engaging as Skyfall, but not as bad or underwhelming as Roger Moore’s Bond career, Daniel Craig still delivers plenty of butt-kicking Bond action, plenty of sexy Bond women, and the joyfully evil, Christoph Waltz, so grab yourself a martini and I’ll share my full thoughts on the film.
Some time after M’s death at Skyfall, James Bond (Craig) receives a cryptic message from his past that sends him on a trail to figure out the truth behind a sinister organization that may or may not have been responsible for all of Bond’s pain throughout the years. Meanwhile the new M (Ralph Fiennes-Harry Potter franchise, Clash of the Titans) is battling a ruthless political force to keep the secret service alive.
Upon arriving to Austria, Bond joins up with the beautiful Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux-Grand Central, Midnight in Paris, Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol) and the two of them set off to uncover a dark secret behind Spectre and its head, Franz Oberhauser (Waltz).
Overall, Spectre is a decent follow-up to Skyfall, it still has plenty of 007 suave, excitement, gadgets, and women. Not to mention a very entertaining villain, I’m serious I would love to see a Bond movie where Christoph Waltz and Javier Bardem team up.
Unfortunately, some of the Bond style wears thin during its second act and the climax is pretty weak (watch Star Trek II much?), which is a shame because Skyfall from beginning to end was like a rollercoaster ride and Casino Royale had suspense and tension blended well with its action, it’s about the same as what I thought of Daniel Craig’s second Bond film, Quantum of Solace, not terrible, but not great either. It pretty much exists just to make a billion dollars at the box office, I felt the Daniel Craig James Bond could have ended after Skyfall, but for what it is, I’m glad it’s not bad, and there were some fun action scenes and a great villain, so it’s enough for me to give it a pass.
If you’re a fan of Bond, you’ll probably find something to enjoy with Spectre, but if you want a thoroughly gripping James Bond movie, I’d recommend going back to Skyfall.