Review: Spectre

SpectreJames Bond is back and Spectre arrives on the scene to make it a memorable return. Or does it? 2012’s Skyfall set a high standard for the 007 franchise, same as The Dark Knight did for Batman. Now, no one expected Spectre to be a failure, nor a Quantum of Solace replica, but all of us had high hopes. After killing Judy Dench‘s M and playing with James’s history in such a way, the introduction of SPECTRE was sure to bring new danger into the beloved agent’s life. And danger it brings, but not the deep, meaningful kind of danger, just the usual “evil man wants to dominate the world” kind. Spectre does have its strong points, so let’s talk about the movie in more detail.

“You are a kite dancing in a hurricane,
Mr Bond”

A cryptic message from the past M leads James Bond (Daniel Craig) to Mexico City and Rome, where he discovers a terrible secret. 007 uncovers the existence of the sinister organization SPECTRE. Needing help from the daughter of an old nemesis, he goes on a mission to find her. As Bond approaches the heart of SPECTRE, he learns of a chilling connection between himself and the enemy he seeks (Christoph Waltz). As plots goes, Spectre seems to have a good one, but, when you see the movie, you realize it’s the standard present time action movie narrative. Bond travels to a lot of foreign countries, following clues that lead him to the mastermind behind all his pain. All his pain in the last three movies, anyway. The story was never a strong point for Bond movies, but there are moments when they shine and go deeper the the usual action flick… Not this time. Spectre goes The Winter Soldier’s way and uses counter terrorism and Big Brother surveillance as a background which is ok; keeping up with modern times has always been the trick with James Bond. Also, the story of Spectre makes the movie feel longer than it should be. Granted, it is a two and a half hour movie, but so is Lord of the Rings and I found myself checking the clock each time Bond changed locations and was still far from solving the mistery and catching the villain.

Spectre

“It was me, James.
The author of all your pain.”

Moving on to the characters. Daniel Craig as 007 is as good as always. Charming, yet dangerous, cold, yet loving, a rebel, bound by his own code and loyal to his few, but trusted friends. Craig is one of the best, if not the best Bond in the history of the franchise. Then we have the Bond girl or girls, if you want. Monica Bellucci makes a brief, but interesting appearance, though more of a cameo than a real role. Léa Seydoux, on the other side, makes a perfect Bond girl. Madeleine is the daugther of a nemesis of Bond, but she isn’t a criminal. Smart, elegant, independent, she Spectredoesn’t really need James to take care of her, though there is a moment where the script turns her into a damsel in distress. Cristoph Waltz is a tremendously talented actor and playing the new Bond villain would have been another step in his career, alas, he was poorly used. He has a powerful presence as the leader of SPECTRE, but he isn’t given time to shine as he should. Not only is his character supposed to be the mastermind behind all the other villains in the last three movies, but he is playing one of Bond’s greatest villains (not gonna spoil the surprise). At least they left the possibility for him to return. Other noticeable appearances come from Dave Bautista as the classic villain henchman, Jesper Christensen as Mr.White and Andrew Scott (Moriarty from Sherlock Holmes) as the new head of British Intelligence. When talking about the side characters of Spectre one cannot miss the greater roles Q and M have in the story. Both Ben Whishaw and Ralph Fiennes get their moments in Spectre.

“I always knew death would wear a familiar face… but not yours.”

SpectreIf the story has its dissadvantages, the action part is superb. Fighting in a herlicopter, car chasing, car chasing with a plane, infiltrating the villain’s headquarters, Bond does it all. Spectre is not playing when it comes to special and practical effects. And Thomas Newman creates another magnificent soundtrack for a James Bond movie. And since we’re talking about music, I must admit that Sam Smith‘s “Writing’s on the Wall” fits very good with the beautifully done opening titles. The opening titles, like the rest of Spectre, gives hints about the past and makes connections with the previous Craig 007 movies and pays homage to all the movies in the franchise. From cars to gadgets, to specific scenes and quotes, everything about Spectre honors the Bond movies.

In the end, Spectre fails to be the best movie in the franchise, but remains a good Bond movie, with classic action, good actors and interesting settings. I give it an 8 and I recommend it to all spu, action movie fans and of course, to the 007 lifelong admirers.

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