Action, romance, and intriguing plot. These are the things that people expect from a Bond film. Spectre, the newest installment in the franchise, succeeds in some of these, but not all. After Skyfall, which is arguably one of the greatest Bond films of all time, Spectre had a lot to live up to. Unfortunately, is doesn’t quite hit the mark.
Spectre features action sequences that rank with some of the best. There are fist fights, car chases, plane crashes, and a helicopter fight. That being said, the fight inside of the helicopter is a little ridiculous. The fight scenes are realistic and believable. They are numerous and frequent throughout the film, and provide the sense of excitement that we expect from a film in this franchise
The romance of the Bond franchise is still present, and rivals that of Casino Royale in the Daniel Craig (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) era. This film does not take away from Bond’s playboy(?) ways. There two “Bond girls” in this film. One of whom, Lucia Sciarra played by Monica Bellucci (Persephone in The Matrix Revolutions), only appears in one scene. The other one is Madeleine Swann, played by Léa Seydoux (Sabine Moreau in Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol), appears in most of the second and third acts of the film, and may be end game for the Bond. We see Bond start to actually love someone for the first time since Vesper in Casino Royale.
Plot is an important of a movie, no matter the genre, and spy/action films are no exception. The plot of Skyfall twisted and turned constantly and intrigued viewers with a convoluted, slightly confusing plan of the villain’s part. There were also times when we didn’t know would happen. Spectre lacked that suspense, and the plot twists were a little predictable. I never felt like Bond was truly in danger, which I feel this film could have done. One of my favorite lines in the movie was “I am the author of all of your suffering”. These words were said by the movies main villain, Blofeld played by Christoph Waltz (Dr. King Schultz in Django Unchained). Well I hate to break it to you Blofeld, but that honor belongs to the screenwriters, who in this film didn’t succeed in that goal. Another, slightly important, flaw with the story is that you need to have seen all of the films featuring Craig’s Bond. This means Casino Royale, Quantum of Solice, and Skyfall. You need to do this, not only because this is a sequel, but also because there a lot of references to these films that people won’t understand if they haven’t seen them.
Another very important aspect of a well known franchise is the acting. There isn’t a lot of new casting that can be done in a James Bond movie, but the choices that were made for the roles that needed them where excellent. Joining the already present cast of Craig, Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter series) as M, Ben Whishaw (Paddington in Paddington) as Q, and Naomie Harris (Tia Dalma in Pirates of the Caribbean) as Eve Moneypenny, were Waltz as the big bad of the film, Andrew Scott (Moriaty in Sherlock) as C, and Seydoux and Bellucci as the “Bond girls”. They all stood their own, even if they were one film characters. My favorite cast addition was definitely Andrew Scott just because of his role in Sherlock. Scott flawlessly plays the part of conniving villains, and I couldn’t get enough of him (a certain thing that happened to him made the Sherlock fan in me very very happy with thought of karma). The cast made the movie come to life and they make us enjoy watching the story unfold.
Every Bond movie has a title sequence, and a song that goes with it. Adele’s “Skyfall” from Skyfall was amazingly well done, and won an Oscar. I’m not so sure that Sam Smith’s “Writing on the Wall” hits the same bar, and I’m certain it won’t be remembered as one of the greats.
Overall, I give Spectre a 6.7/10 stars. Even though it doesn’t live up to the standards set by its predecessor, the newest Bond film is worthy of praise. If you crave the action and fights that Bond films tend to have, then Spectre is movie worth your time.