Spectre is the 24th James Bond (007) film, 4th with Daniel Craig playing the iconic character and 2nd directed by Sam Mendes. It also stars Christoph Waltz as the main villain Franz Oberhauser, Léa Seydoux as Dr. Madeleine Swann, Ben Whishaw as Q, Naomie Harris as Eve Moneypenny, Dave Bautista as Mr. Hinx, Monica Bellucci as Lucia Sciarra, Ralph Fiennes as Gareth Mallory (code name M) and Andrew Scott as Max Denbigh (code name C). In the film, a cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover and reveal the terrible truth behind Spectre.
I’ve never really had a chance to get attached to the 007’s of the past so you’ll have to bear with me in understanding that when I say Bond, I mean only Daniel Craig’s Bond. One day I will go back and give the whole series its fair share of my attention.
After the genuine crowd pleaser that was Skyfall, I was looking forward to what Sam Mendes had in store for Spectre. I walked into the theatre ready for a thrill ride but was disappointed — it’s a strange movie that didn’t work and amounts to so much less than you’d expect considering the talent involved. I was sad to have not enjoyed it, and the more I discussed and thought about it, the more I disliked it. It’s a two and a half hour movie that feels like it, because of its slow pacing and lack of any real drama between the characters. Remember this is my personal opinion, I can totally see how some wouldn’t have any issues with it. But if you’re reading this and haven’t watch the movie yet i need to warn you that there are some spoilers in this review. I couldn’t keep this spoiler free because most of my issues with this film were to do with the plot.
Majority of the action scenes take place in the first half with the story developing. Bond goes on his quest to find out about Spectre and back at MI6, we have a side story of M and C conflicting on policies of privacy and surveillance. We are later introduced to the villain Stavro Blofeld previously known as Franz Oberhauser, the setup of his introduction was intense and exciting and gets even better when the henchman Hinx (Dave Bautista) makes an epic entry. Right here Spectre still had me, I was excited about what I was seeing and eager for more.
But as the film went on there were lots of dull moments, it became too predictable and simply not that interesting. It’s not the slowest movie ever made but in comparison to the other Craig Bond movies it was a total drag. Maybe it’s not fair to compare Spectre to the other Bond movies but the comparisons were inevitable, I’m sorry, I just couldn’t help it. I mean Casino Royale had a good 30 minutes of people playing poker and I honestly felt more engaged watching that than I did with most of Spectre. The moment Bond met up with his love interest Madeline, there was a lot of uninteresting conversation and downtime whereas the first conversation between Vesper (Eva Green) and Bond on a train in Casino Royale was one of the most interesting Bond girl conversations — the writing was just sharper.
Christoph Waltz as Blofeld was so underused, especially for an actor of his level. He is made out be the villain that rules all villains, yet he didn’t feel any different from the other villains we have seen in the Craig era. Silva in Skyfall came across as more sinister and in control of the whole situation. He got defeated in the end out of pure emotion at having to finish M off himself, whereas Blofeld seemed to get defeated out of pure incompetence. Not once was I ever really interested in Christoph’s character because the film never had any weight behind his actions.
Something still playing with my mind is a scene where Blofeld has a machine that takes out Bond’s sense of balance and motor skills as well as his ability to recognize people, but somehow after he is injected it doesn’t even slow him down AT ALL. It’s like nothing ever happened! I mean, how? Maybe I need a second and third watch to understand that? If you understood how that happened please enlighten me in the comments below.
Otherwise the love story also felt very rushed. In Casino Royale it dedicated good screen time to the romance between Bond and Vesper, yet in this it felt like they decided they wanted a new love story but without the hassle of any real character building. It’s like there was a jump in time that wasn’t clearly indicated; one minute it’s “Get away from me”, a few minutes later “I can’t be with you because this life is bad”, and more like two minutes later “I love you” and without Bond at least saying he loves her back, he decides to leave everything to go and be with her, what the actual f#? k???? It’s mind blowing how some critics have described Madeline as a strong female character who is equal to Bond, she just had nothing to her. As for the 2nd Bond girl, 50 year old Monica Bellucci, who is in the movie for maybe 5 minutes. I think they put her there just to make a point of casting the “oldest bond girl yet”.
However, the acting was good for most of the characters despite the uninteresting dialogue. I apologize if this comes off as a rant because it was not intended as one. I cannot simply ignore all the flaws because it’s a Bond film — that doesn’t give it a free pass for me. It was disappointing, I was bored while I watched and couldn’t wait for it to end.
4/10, would not recommend.