Daniel Craig is back for his 4th, and possibly last, installment of the 007 franchise with "Spectre" Craig has already made his 007 career one to remember with such critically acclaimed entries, and my personal favorites, such as "Casino Royale" and "Skyfall." This entry has definitely been hyped up since its teaser trailer, mainly for having Christoph Waltz ("Inglorious Bastards," "Django Unchained"), so does it deliver the goods?
On a secret mission tasked by former M (Judi Dench), Bond is sent to Mexico City to take down a certain individual. He retrieves a ring with an octopus symbol on it from the target and heads back to London where it leads him into the secret organization, Spectre, led by Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Waltz). While that is going on, the new and current M (Ralph Fiennes) is dealing with a crisis back at MI6: a high-tech organization wants to take control of the “00” program. As the movie goes on, Bond will find a connection between himself and the organization he investigates, while meeting with old enemies and memories from his past.
The biggest attraction to this new 007 movie is the inclusion of famous German actor, Christoph Waltz, as the newest Bond villain. He has shown that he can not only act well, but play a very engaging bad guy. Unfortunately, the film does not deliver on this promise. The main issue with Waltz is not his acting, but it’s that he is barely in the movie. He is shown about a total of three times throughout this two and a half hour spy drama, which is not long enough to make a big impression.
He doesn’t even do much in the film. He shows up a handful of times and gives Bond obstacles to go through, but never seemed like too much of a threat once he was revealed as an enemy. He doesn’t even kill anyone during the entire course of the movie. This was a huge missed opportunity to really showcase Waltz’s true abilities as well as the character who had a lot of potential to be the baddest Bond villain ever.
Sadly, the flaws do not end with just an underwhelming villain; the writing definitely needed another rewrite. The reason as to why so many people like these newer Bond films (with Craig) is because they are trying to get away from the traditional James Bond characteristics to take the character more serious and realistic. The new Bond feels more human and not so invincible like the previous incarnations, which was something audiences were able to relate to more. This one feels the most old school and familiar 007 movie out of the four Daniel Craig has starred in.
While that is not really a bad quality in the end, it is disappointing to see the new Bond that was doing so well in its aspect of being more dramatic and realistic in its past entries to only fall back to old territory to be on the safer side of the audience. This film dives into more of Bond’s background, but they never reach the full potential they really could have done. Some of the past will be brought up, but most of the time they just breeze by it and not bring it up again.
Even with those issues, there is still a lot to like in this new 007 film. The acting is superb as always. Daniel Craig once again shows his acting talents as the world’s most famous secret agent. The rest of the cast does great as well, even Waltz with the little screen time he had. The new Bond girl (Léa Seydoux) does great as well. She is able to hold her own without the need of 007 and she’s great to watch overall.
I really liked how this film addressed the past three Bond movies throughout the story. They referenced old villains like Silva from Skyfall as well as Bond’s past lovers and Dench’s M. It all ties in together well and nothing in the movie feels it’s trying too hard to mention past events from the earlier entries.
The film, on a technical level, is beautiful. This is probably the best shot James Bond film to date. The intro scene of the film was amazing. The filmmakers gave off a "Birdman" feel in the beginning by following the characters without doing any cutting and looks like one long take. The way they shot the reveal of Blofeld was amazing. They keep his face in the shadows and it really brings in the suspense and intimidation of his character. The shots throughout the entire film were amazing to look at and it definitely shows there was effort put into the editing and cinematography.
With every Bond film comes a vocal theme song for the opening credits, and Sam Smith is here for "Spectre" with his song "Writing's on the Wall." The song is enjoyable to listen to, but even better during the opening credits. The song just feels like it belongs in a James Bond film, and while slow, is very impressive (although Adele’s "Skyfall" is better).
While there are a good handful of issues with the film like a weak villain and writing that makes this film feel more traditional than new, "Spectre" is still a very enjoyable film to watch. It has great action, acting, main theme, and technical aspects to still make for a deserving entry into the Bond franchise. It’s not as good as past Craig films but if you’re a fan of 007, there’s plenty to admire here. If not, I still say, give it a shot. You may be surprised.