Imagine you’re Sam Mendes and you have to make a James Bond movie to follow the critically and commercially acclaimed Skyfall, how on earth do you top that? By making one of the most expensive movies ever made and paying homage to previous Bond films it seem. But did the gamble pay off?
After an unoffical mission to Mexico makes headlines, James Bond (Daniel Craig) is suspended by M (Ralph Finnes). But that doesn’t stop Bond from trying to find out about Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz) and his mysterious organisation that’s been behind several acts of terrorism around the world. Teaming up with Dr. Madeline Swann (Lea Seydoux) Bond attempts to track them down before their latest plot is unleashed on the world.
Lets get this out of the way. Spectre is not as great as Skyfall but it’s still a pretty good effort by Mendes. The opening scenes set in Mexico during the Day of the Dead celebrations are brilliantly staged with some lovely tracking shots of Bond working his way around the celebrations to track his target. The cinematography is also excellent with the whole film looking as stylish as you’d expect a Bond film to be.
In his fourth outing as Bond, Craig is still suave, with hints of danger and unpredictability underneath. It was also fun having the gang back together especially Ben Whishaw as Q with his dry sense of humour as he gets embroiled in Bond’s schemes despite the risk to his job. It’s just as shame that for most of the film the team at M16 are separated from Bond. More teamwork next time would be great. Christoph Waltz makes a good first appearance as Franz Oberhauser, hiding in the shadow until he draws his direct attention to Bond, but his subsequent scenes are frustrating as he keeps making the same mistakes as previous Bond villans in not killing Bond when he has the chance! His reasoning for his hatred of Bond is also rather underwhelming. Meanwhile Lea Seydoux does a capable performance as Dr. Madeleine Swann but is not as memorable a Bond girl as say Eva Green’s Vesper Lynd. It’s also a shame that Monica Bellucci’s role as Lucia is short as she seemed quite good and her character was interesting.
Some of the nods to previous Bonds are fun but at other timers it overwhelms the film leaving it with little identity of its own and more like Bond Greatest Hits. It’s also way too long and dragged a little at times. There are rumours around that this is Daniel Craig’s last outing as Bond, and if so he may not leave on an ulitimate high like Skyfall but it would still be a fitting end to his Bond era.
Rating 3.5/5 – exciting and cool but unfortunately also rather long