My Rating: 7 out of 10
In the latest, and possibly last, Bond film to feature Daniel Craig, 007 finds himself trying to track down the head members of a shadowy organization called Spectre that is responsible for a series of seemingly-random coordinated terrorist attacks across the world. With little information to go on due to the shutdown of the “double zero program” and a girl in tow needing protection from the very same organization, this film definitely has more than a few parallels to the latest Mission Impossible installment (Rogue Nation), released earlier this year. Going into Spectre, I expected a movie similar to Rogue Nation that took the same plot elements even further, however what I got was something that seemed a little less thought out.
This isn’t to say that Spectre is a bad movie. It certainly isn’t. But when compared to the last Bond film, Skyfall, and the aforementioned Tom Cruise spy series installment, Rogue Nation, Spectre seems to be more about the action and excitement than the depth and suspense. Of course, being one of the biggest releases of the year, the movie definite wins a lot of points for its extremely well executed and heart-pounding action sequences. The locations are gorgeous as well. I found myself looking up where all of the shots were filmed after the movie and adding some of them to my list of places to travel to one day.
Another thing I loved was how the film stayed true to how a Bond film should feel without becoming overly campy or overly dark. When compared to its predecessors (at least in the Daniel Craig era, as these are the only Bond movies I’ve seen), Spectre was not as bleak and wasn’t afraid to use humor from time to time to liven up the action. Yet, this very same aspect of the movie was also one of its pitfalls. There were certain scenes that made the movie feel dated, something that I never felt when watching Skyfall or Rogue Nation. There were also elements that I found easily predictable, which I found surprising since my two favorite Daniel Craig Bond films, Casino Royale and Skyfall, were anything but.
The combination of a lack of character depth with the easy to predict plot points took away from the meaning of the action sequences, which sadly made them slightly less powerful. It almost felt as though the writers knew what they wanted to do with the film, but didn’t know how to execute it. I left the theatre both wanting more and feeling as though the movie was a little too long (which is something I rarely say). This ties in with the idea behind Spectre, which I won’t go into detail about, but is something that connects all the Daniel Craig Bond films.
The idea of linking plot elements from different movies in a film series is something that greatly appeals to me, but only if the connection was planned from the beginning or can be executed skillfully enough that it feels as though it was. Sadly, the connection seemed a bit shallow in Spectre and the writing again took away from what could have been an excellent reveal. On top of this, the movie required more knowledge of the previous three films than I had to keep up with everything that was being said. This didn’t really take away too much from the experience and is a choice that I don’t disagree with, though I was a bit surprised that the film with the most connection to this one was Quantum of Solace, which I felt was the weakest of the Daniel Craig Bond movies.
Without having seen the entire Bond series, I can only go off of what a couple of my friends told me after the film, but apparently there was a couple references to some of the events that happened in pre-Daniel Craig films that made the end of the movie even more confusing. Again, while I have no issue with Spectre trying to connect multiple films, continuity is important and can make or break a movie. Overall, I definitely recommend going to see Spectre before it leaves theatres. It’s an excellent action movie and has enough of the Bond elements that made the movies so iconic to make it worth seeing. However, as a follow up to Skyfall and a competitor of the recent Mission Impossible film, Spectre is a bit less impressive than the intro sequence will lead you to believe.