November 10, 2015

Movie Review: Specte

Few franchises can lay claim to more than fifty years of history and even fewer have twenty-four films under their belt. It wasn’t that long ago that I was talking about another franchise that got better with age, meaning the later sequels were actually better than the first few. Now, when it comes to James Bond, we have a whole new story to tell. When it comes to the best films in the franchise, you will likely get a mixture of old and new. Seriously, when I think about my favorites, titles such as From Russia with Love, Casino Royale (2006), Goldfinger, and Skyfall. Now, there is Spectre. I am not sure it will land in the top five, but it is certainly no slouch.

Spectre is not a perfect Bond film, but man, if I am not wowed by the entire run that Daniel Craig has had to this point. Yes, I know it is more than just him, it is the solid cast and crew they have surrounded him with. At the same time, this is the first time they have directly linked the films together and this quadrilogy has really given some great life to the legendary British spy, not only that, it has brought everything into the present and questions the place of the spy in the modern world with all of the technology at our fingertips.

Much like Quantum of Solace played as the second half of Casino Royale, Spectre is like the second half of Skyfall. It takes the events that happened in Skyfall and puts a twist on them, upping the ante and forcing Bond to confront those who have died, those he has killed, and just where he fits in the world.

Spectre is an exhilarating movie that delivers everything we have come to expect from a Bond movie. We have the globetrotting, a couple of gadgets, an over the top villain, car chases, fist fights, explosions, and women (Monica Bellucci and Lew Seydoux). On this level, and following from what has come in this chain of films, it is quite entertaining and more than worthy of spending some time with.

The problem is that it is far from perfect. It has its share of logic flaws, which is another discussion. The problem is the focus. More so than in other recent entries, this one splits off and spends more time with ancillary characters. Sure, it is interesting to see M in the field, or Q getting some time away from the computer lab. The problem is that whenever these things happy we lose focus on Bond and the personal journey he has been on for this film and by extension, all four films of the series. The same can be said for our villain. Christoph Waltz is an amazingly charismatic screen persona (I cannot say he has the widest range, but, creatively, writers and directors have done a wonderful job focusing him), but it feels like he is kept too much to the sidelines. There is a wonderful relationship between Bond and Blofeld, there just isn’t enough of it.

Still, while Spectre is not my favorite of the Daniel Craig run of Bonds, it is still perfectly entertaining and has a lot to offer. I am beginning to look at them as a single entity, they are the first of the Bond films to be directly linked, and this continuation of threads has helped create an interesting vision of the character, different from the other incarnations. It is pretty fascinating to see this character develop, yet still feel like a Bond film.

In short, go check it out. It delivers the goods. It may never get quite as good as the opening sequence, but what an open it is!


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