I have been an avid watcher of all Daniel Craig’s James Bond performances, ‘Casino Royale’ being one of the first films which had me take an interest in film-making (we all wanted to know how they made that car flip so many times). I loved this new take on Bond which still respected the back catalogue, but was not ashamed to take a new and refreshing approach to the franchise. So needless to say after the triumph of Skyfall (a film which I can easily say is a visual masterpiece). I was more than excited for the return of director Sam Mendes in Spectre, believing that Christoph Waltz was an inspired choice for a villain.
So let us begin with what I did like about the film. It is definitely an elegant affair, it is almost as visually stunning as Skyfall (an emphasis on the almost), every shot being as beautiful as the next. I immensely enjoyed the film’s first act, the opening sequence perfectly establishing the film. I would also like to commend to inspired casting of Dave Bautista of the almost (an emphasis on the almost remember) perfect henchman. His brooding and silent appearances, taking inspiration from the likes of Jaws and Odd-Job, was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the films explosive action sequences. And Honestly? That’s about all the positive feelings I have about the film.
Moving on to what completely ruined Spectre. Let’s begin with the ‘Bond Girls’, now in both ‘Skyfall’ and ‘Spectre’ they have two girls. However, there is a major difference between the two films in the role that these women hold. In ‘Skyfall’ both of the women serve as an important and justified element to the film’s plot. However in ‘Spectre’, I’m not entirely sure what either women served to the film, in fact I’m pretty sure that Monica Belluci could have been cut out of the entire film all together. Merely serving as another knot for Bond’s illustrious bed post. But in her favour, Belluci’s short appearance was far more likeable than that of the second Bond Girl, Léa Seydoux’s Madeleine. I have never disliked a bond girl more (and yes, that does include Elektra King from ‘The World is not Enough’). In fact, I’m pretty sure that Kristen Stewart has more emotional range than Léa Seydoux, who looks perpetually stroppy and bored throughout the entire the film. She produced no chemistry with Daniel Craig and was unable to establish whether she was an ‘Action Woman’ or a ‘Stand There and Look Pretty Girl’. I could honestly go on longer but I can feel myself getting angrier and angrier as I continue to think about this character, so I really must move on. As a quick side note, both Christoph Waltz and Dave Bautista were completely wasted as villains, only appearing for a short time before some incredible action sequence happened and they would disappear for another 20 minutes, really what was the point?
The film’s overall plot is all over the place, I still can’t work out what the entire story was about. The entire time I was watching my brain felt like it had been pummelled into a mush as the film tried to explain itself time and time again in the most incoherent and uninteresting ways. It struggled with finding ways to keep me interested as it stumbled from one spectacular set piece to the next (there were even times where I felt my eyes becoming heavy during the over-long conversations between Madeleine and Bond). On top of this the ending did not feel definitive or worthwhile to act as a respectable send off to Daniel Craig, which left me feeling dissatisfied and confused.
I’m sure if you are a bigger Bond fan than me, you will find some more enjoyable elements than I did. The film definitely shows the same amount of celebration to the James Bond Legacy (with an emphasis to Craig’s films) which made ‘Skyfall’ so great. So if you are a true Bond fan, I can tell you (half-heartedly) to go see it. However, if like me you have only started to appreciate Bond as you got older, I have a feeling that ‘Spectre’ will infuriate you as much as me.
Summary: ‘Spectre’ has everything that it needs, to be one of the best Bond film’s to date, however, the film in no way reaches it’s true potential and feels as monotonous and dreary as it’s theme song by Sam Smith. The entire time I was there I either wished I was watching ‘Skyfall’ and ‘Casino Royale’ or I was wishing for the next action piece to come along and save me from the evil that is Léa Seydoux.