Spectre is the latest instalment in the James Bond franchise. This is a sentence. I can go on stating the obvious if you like, or I can just leave that opening hanging there for anyone who actually didn’t know what Spectre was. Anyway, it follows on from Skyfall, the previous instalment, and sets us up with an MI6 which is being amalgamated into MI5 to become part of a world security service. Meanwhile, Bond himself is off doing secret missions without authorisation for reasons I won’t say because I said in the title that this would be spoiler free and I wasn’t talking about how Bond’s new Aston Martin hasn’t got a spoiler on the back.
What Skyfall started was a return to the more classic style of Bond film, while still keeping it modern in all the aspects that matter. Thankfully, director Sam Mendes continues with this approach, meaning that we get a film which meets today’s filmmaking standards and yet captures a lot of the essential fun that make these films worth watching. The performances are as solid as always from the main agents, it’ll be a shame to see Daniel Craig leave the franchise as he plays a great Bond, Ralph Feinnes actually manages to fill the void Judi Dench left after Skyfall and both Monneypenny and Q are good fun (if a touch underused). The action is also slick and well put together, ranging from the enjoyably ludicrous to excellently choreographed and being just as entertaining each way. It also looks very nice, with the cinematography making every scene look as pretty as a picture, and I’m going to drop this sentence now because you probably don’t care in the slightest about whatever “cinematography” is and I feel overly pretentious just typing it.
I feel like following the success of Skyfall and Casino Royale was always going to be a tough thing to do (just ask Quantum of Solace), and Spectre really struggles with this task. It seems as if it’s trying to do something different with the character and mythos of 007, but it almost feels half-hearted, as if it would rather be simply another Bond flick with a cheesy villain and a girl to save. Which means that what Spectre ends up being is not quite either of those two things, but rather a formulaic Bond film that occasionally breaks its own mould to try and deliver something which it wants to be interesting, yet which turns out to be completely unengaging because the flow of what Spectre wants to achieve doesn’t run parallel to the movie as a whole. Rather, it zig-zags all over the place and occasionally overlaps with our main plot.
The new villain on the block is also getting filed under this category, and I want to disclose this with the fact that I was conflicted over where to put him, and he ended up here because of what he represents: poor storytelling. This isn’t an antagonist who is made to feel like a threat, but rather (trying not to spoil anything) one who just claims credit for what other people did and then expects that he is now made threatening. Cristoph Waltz brings some charisma to him, and he’s often fun to watch, but he really just doesn’t hold a candle to Silva from Skyfall (which I should really stop bringing up, shouldn’t I?), and that’s ironic of you’ve seen this film.
Food for Thought
For me, Spectre is much akin to a normal bar of my favourite chocolate. Sure, I like that brand, and it’s chocolate after all, but after having a caramel filled bar (Casino Royale) and a mint flavoured one (Skyfall), it’s just a touch lazy by comparison. But hey, it’s still a bar of chocolate, and Bond flavoured no less.
As always, thanks for reading, and feel free to let us know what you thought of Spectre in the comments below. Also feel free to read some more articles and please do check out our Facebook page, hitting like to see new articles. But until next time guys, enjoy your life.