Spectre is the 24th entry in the bond franchise and in many ways is a tie up of the previous 3 movies of Daniel Craig’s tenure as 007, Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall. Sam Mendes returns to direct after the success of Skyfall, which to me was the best Bond film.
Daniel Craig is as good as ever as Bond, and he perfects his blend of Sean Connery meets Roger Moore this time out. He has modernised James Bond in a way that i think was very much-needed after Pierce Brosnan’s cheesy womanizer who at times forgot he was spy. He is supported by Ralph Fiennes as M, Ben Wishaw’s Q, and Naomie Harris as Moneypenny. All 3 are given a lot more to do this time, particularly Fiennes and Wishaw, whose obvious talents are utilised well to support 007 however they can.
Monica Bellucci is the first of 2 bond girls in Spectre, and she is solid in her brief role. She sets a new record as the oldest Bond girl at 51 years of age, even though she looks the most age appropriate for the Bond we have (Craig is 47 himself). Lea Seydoux is the other, and prominent female character, and she is great in the movie. She is given a lot more to do in this one than she was in hollywood’s other dominant spy franchise when she appeared in Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol a few years back. She is, aside from Daniel Craig, the stand out performance in the film.
Christoph Waltz is one of my favourite actors, and I was really looking forward to seeing him as a Bond Villain. He is good with what he is given in this film, but for me there wasn’t enough time spent with him once we met him so it was hard to fully appreciate the character. There is one or two scenes where you can see how unsettling and ruthless he is and in these moments Waltz shines. The potential was there for a truly iconic villain, but the character didn’t hit the high notes I was hoping for.
Dave Bautista is believable as the henchman Mr.Hinx, but feels criminally underused. Having seen how effective he was with his comedic timing and delivery of his lines as Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy, there are several moments where he could have been given more to say and I think he would’ve been a bigger hit with fans had he made a few one liners and wise cracks with James. Andrew Scott (Moriarty in BBC’s Sherlock) is solid enough in his role, if unspectacular, playing a character similar to Moriarty but without the insane streak, or the same level of intelligence. I look forward to him breaking out into a few more diverse roles to see what else he can do.
The movie opens with one of the best bond openings I can remember, and gets us straight back into the world. The scene is action packed, fast paced and the setting of Mexico City’s Day of the Dead celebrations is a vibrant backdrop to get us strapped into the movie. This great opening is followed by a much slower paced half hour where the is a lot of explaining. This is the main problems I had with the film, with it slowing down a little too much and never being able to outdo its own opening in terms of action or intensity.
The movie does manage to incorporate the previous Craig era films well, linking them up nicely and giving us a satisfactory conclusion. The plot is strong enough to stand on its own without you needing to see all the previous ones, but you will get more out of the film having seen what came before.
Spectre is a good film, and that is all it is to me. It shows glimpses of brilliance, but never delivers that on a consistent basis. After the excellence of Skyfall my expectations for what a Bond movie could be had been raised, and this never quite reaches that level.It is still very much a James Bond film, I left the cinema happy with what i had watched, but feeling like Spectre had failed to fulfil its potential to outdo its predecessor.
7/10 – Good work 007… just not great.