Casino Royale was a well paced and superior addition to the James Bond franchise, shifting dramatically from the exotic almost science fiction entries from previous years to gripping spy narrative focusing more on espionage and intrigue than gadgets and explosions. It was followed up by the more traditional and forgettable Quantum of Solace before the final turn in Skyfall with a deconstruction of Bond as a character and a Mission Impossible style exploration of the destruction of Bond’s support structure.
The trilogy genuinely felt complete, which tragically undermines Spectre’s attempts to insert itself into the previous narrative with heavy handed gimmicks and exposition based on an increasingly implausible back story forced directly onto Bond’s character. Absolutely everything that is wrong with this movie revolves around attempting to tie it into the narrative of the complete and well resolved trilogy leading up to it. If you’re able to overlook these issues, you’re in for a treat to one of the best action movies of the summer.
The movie opens with one of the best set piece locations of any Bond movie to date, and explores it fantastically, jumping right into one of the better action sequences in recent memory. It’s an aggressive and entertaining start that feels like it’s ready to move the story into interesting places with exciting speed. While the movie fails to capture and maintain this forward momentum, this can hardly be considered a failing as that would have made it one of the rarest of action movies.
The acting is spot on, the directing is well paced moving the story forward and keeping viewers engaged. The cinematography is a treat with some of the best framed locations and images since Mad Max: Fury Road earlier this year. The music absolutely shines from beginning to end, and the cast of villains is superb, though you may end up asking why Bond is so bad at killing people despite frequently being labeled as an assassin quite heavy handedly. The movie would be about half as long if Bond bothered to check a pulse every once in a while when he gets a breather instead of just running off without a second thought.
Spectre is a perfectly respectable final outing for Daniel Craig as James Bond, but it definitely isn’t a high note for the series or for Craig’s portrayal of the character. This would have been better if it had been written to stand on its own rather than trying to force its way into an already complete narrative. Spectre will go down in history as relatively forgettable because of that, but here and now it stands as some of the most fun you’ll have this year.
|Final Verdict:||A middling bond movie that poorly resolves questions no one asked.|