My Rating: 7/10 SEE IT
Sam Mendes’s Spectre is a beautifully directed follow up to the 2012 sensation that was Skyfall, which unfortunately devotes more time to connecting a disjointed franchise than developing its characters or plot. However, what it lacks in narrative, it makes up for in originality.
As far as Bond films go, even when they are bad, they are still wildly entertaining. The trouble with most installments in the franchise is they tend to lean heavily on nostalgia to dictate their success. If you have seen one Bond film, you have seen them all. 007’s adventures tend to follow a strict formula, and even the high points in the franchise (i.e. Goldfinger, Goldeneye, Casino Royale, Skyfall) are restricted to a more formulaic approach.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
A valid argument, along with films like Avengers or Transformers, though Bond sticks to its formula, it rakes in millions with every installment. While these films are a success monetarily, we start to become desensitized to their themes, and the result is boredom. Which is why Spectre was a bit of a breath of fresh air. We see Bond go ‘off the radar’ in this entry, and while that is nothing new (see License to Kill or Quantum of Solace), it manages to push our hero to a more relatable and tangible state.
Each of the modern Bond films thus far have attempted to delve deeper into the psyche of 007. They push him to his limit, not only physically, but emotionally. While Spectre may not be as powerful as some of its predecessors, it certainly follows the trend.
Bond is forced to face the Specters of his past, coming to terms with the fact that everyone he loves tends to die. As the story progresses, he is forced to confront the possibility that his days of espionage should be left behind.
The name of the game is suspense. More so than any other Bond in the past, Spectre manages to push its audience to the edge of their seats. 007’s devotion to his late and former boss, M (played by Judi Dench), pushes him to chase ghosts, as it were, with no clear end game in sight.
Although Bond’s motivations make the film more original, there are definitely some issues with this film. The most obvious one is the lack of chemistry between Bond and his new love interest, Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux). Now don’t get me wrong, Daniel Craig and Seydoux definitely have a natural chemistry with one another, it is just that the script does not afford them the opportunity to allow it to flourish to its full potential. The result is an unbelievable love story which jumps from 0-60 in 2 seconds- which is faster than 007’s Aston Martin. So it is a little hard for us to buy it when (SPOILER) Bond quits his job to spend the rest of his life with her.
Also, the new villain, Oberhauser, though beautifully portrayed by Christoph Waltz, receives very little screen time, and after his unmasking, loses a great deal of intimidation. Yes, the build up to his inevitable reveal is suspenseful and reminiscent of the mysterious Blofeld in the early Bond films, but ultimately his character just felt wasted. I am sure the writer’s intentions were to prep Oberhauser for his epic return in Bond 25.
The film also contains a severely under-utilized cast which include Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista and Monica Belucci. With most of our attention on Bond, it is natural for his castmates to fall by the wayside.
While the film is lacking in narrative and character development, it still manages to keep its audience both entertained and in a state of suspense throughout. With some of the most original and entertaining action sequences in any 007 film to date, such as the opening Helicopter scene or the train fight with Hinx (Dave Bautista), Spectre leaves its mark as a noble and strong James Bond installment which is definitely worth seeing in theaters.
What do you think? Do you disagree with me completely? Was it the greatest 007 adventure of all time, or an embarrassment to the franchise? Let me know what you think in the comments!