A return to old-school Bond
Spectre (2015): A cryptic message from Bond's past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.
Alright. Let's get something out of the way right off the bat: this Bond film is not as good as Skyfall. But is that a bad thing? Absolutely not. Spectre, as I said before, is a return to the old-school Bond formula: get the assignment, get the tech from Q, meet the girl, get in a car chase, destroy car in said car chase, meet villain in exotic location, defeat villain in exotic location. Rinse and repeat. This formula has been used in Bond films over and over, and it has not only been the cornerstone here but has been the groundwork for countless action films over the years. And personally, I love it. I absolutely love it. While the formula has a tendency to date some of the films (try and go back and watch a Roger Moore Bond film without laughing at it at various points) it's still an absolute blast to watch on screen, as long as it's properly executed. And it is certainly well-executed here.
What made Skyfall different was the fact that it strayed from this formula. There was actual emotion in the film. Bond did not feel as invincible as he usually is. You weren't saying "What a guy," over and over whenever he does something incredible, in part because he doesn't really do anything incredible besides take on one of the best Bond villains in the franchise's history. Well, let's flash forward to Spectre. The main reason I had high expectations for this film (and why it was the most anticipated film of the year for me) was because of the villain. The organization Spectre has been a huge part of the franchise from way back in the Sean Connery/Roger Moore days. However in recent years the Bond crew were forced to put the villainous organization on hiatus due to legal issues. And now that the legal battle is over and the Bond crew received the rights once and for all, they immediately announced the new film would feature the organization. And once the crew announced Christoph Waltz would head said organization in this film, I have been counting down the days until I could see it. And Christoph Waltz did not disappoint. I've been long saying Waltz was born for this role, ever since he burst onto the scene with his performance in Inglorious Basterds. And he absolutely knocked it out of the park, and even delivered my single favorite moment in film this year to date. By far. (I won't spoil it for you) Spectre did falter in some places, but one of those places was absolutely not the villain. They knocked that one out of the park. I must also give some props to other departments I don't usually mention in these reviews. First off, the special effects crew did a fantastic job with all the stunts in the film. While sadly the coolest stunt was spoiled in all the trailers with the helicopter, the demolition crew got to destroy several major sets, so good job to capturing those explosions. (They likely had to do it in one take) However one of the best part of this film for me was the lighting. Yes. The lighting. The use of shadows and streaks of light in this film were amazing, and felt like an ode to the truly mise en scene days of the '60s and '70s. I have no idea who was in charge of lighting, but they deserve a huge raise.
This film was not without its flaws, however. Let's first talk about the acting. Cause that's the big one. Daniel Craig was his typical Bond, which I had no problem with, and the main Bond girl in Lea Seydoux was also excellent, but there were two huge disappointments out of this department. Monica Bellucci and Andrew Scott. And it was to no fault of their own, however both of these ridiculously talented actors were completely wasted in their roles. Criminally wasted, actually. Bellucci was in a total of three scenes, and she was incredible in them, but her character was nothing more than a means to an end for Bond, and she never showed up for the rest of the 148 minute film. Andrew Scott was even more ridiculous. He was an extremely poorly written character, yet even with his laughably bad material he still put in a great performance! Seriously, guys: Andrew Scott is hugely talented, If he could make a performance out of virtually no material, he can do anything. Get him more roles!
That's pretty much all I got. The film was....good. It was a refreshing return to the Bond days of old, but I think a lot of people who don't care for the formula as much as I do will be turned off by it. However everyone can agree that the franchise will benefit from having Spectre back in the mix of things, and with Christoph Waltz at the helm of it, I can't wait to see where the franchise goes next. Oh and PS-I am ready for a new Bond. As much as I loved where Daniel Craig took the character, he's officially too old. Bring on Idris Elba!
The Critique: While failing to live up to its predecessor, Spectre brings back the old Bond formula and executes it in an enjoyable fashion.
The Recommendation: Bond fans, Daniel Craig fans, and Christoph Waltz fans all know what to do: go see this if you somehow haven't already.
The Verdict: 7/10 Good.
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