I can only think of one film this year with more hype than Spectre, and that is the new Star Wars. After being quite blown away by Skyfall I was ready to jump back into the world of James Bond. With the same director returning, a similar running length, and exciting casting choice for the baddie, I expected Skyfall 2.0. The unfortunate thing is this film didn’t live up to my expectations, and I think it didn’t live up to most people’s expectations. After Casino Royal, Quantum Of Solace and Skyfall people have begun to expect a sort of gritty realness to Daniel Craig‘s Bond and that is where Spectre falls short. The movie is incredibly fun and engaging; a whirlwind of action, but the problem that most people seem to have is that it was too implausible. While I agree with this a bit, I don’t think it was the films biggest flaw. Having seen all the other James Bond renditions on screen I don’t really look too deeply into the films plausibility. For me this doesn’t really matter. The lack of believability can be quite fun and is what most big Bond fans come to expect. The biggest problem for me is the lack of character development. Still despite its flaws I think Spectre is a very enjoyable film and a worthy addition to the Bond franchise.
Let me start by saying the visuals in this film were incredible. It is a beautifully shot film and really brings out the locations. I’ve never wanted to visit Mexico City, Tunisia or Switzerland so badly in all my life. All the scenes look nice and do their job of captivating the viewer. What James Bond film would be complete without exotic locales. The atmosphere and unique locations help to solidify Spectre in the memory. One of the easiest ways to remember which Bond film is which is by the locations and scenery. Certain scenes allow for various types of action scenes, and Spectre took full advantage of this with some amazing chase scenes as well as several great fight scenes. The visuals, for me, were more than enough for the price of admission.
On to the worst point of the film, Christoph Waltz. My excitement at hearing this casting was sky high, but I was left quite disappointed. Christoph Waltz is a great actor, but the script left very little to character development. He was portraying the biggest baddie of the Daniel Craig films and somehow he came across as the least intimidating. His rational for becoming a villain was weak and his interactions with Bond lacked the suspense required for the role. It doesn’t feel to be Christoph Waltz‘ fault, but rather a script that felt it needed to be drastically expanded. His role was too small, his development was too small; everyone’s development was too small. Spectre would have been better had it been split into two films where each character could receive justice.
The love interests in this one lacked development as well, though this is less surprising in a Bond film. Monica Bellucci was giving it up to Bond in no time at all, despite never really seeming to want it. For me this was one of the more rape-y Bond scenes in awhile. The second love interest was much better developed, but her attitude came across as extremely inconsistent. Lea Seydoux came across hating Bond and then in the next scene, without notice, she seems in love with him. I won’t delve too far into the details but their relationship was lacking in development which made its changes seem far too sudden.
Overall my only real complaint is the lack of character development. The movie is a lot of fun and thrilling ride from start to finish. The lack of believability doesn’t bother me at all. The film is still far more realistic than most Bond films. I think this is the hardest part to swallow, the gritty realism of the previous Daniel Craig entries seems to have jumped back into the realm of classic James Bond and this is something big fans of the more realistic films won’t like. I will say I love the old Bond films and the new ones. I don’t go to the Daniel Craig films because I want a more believable Bond, I go for the same reason I went to later Pierce Brosnen films, I want an exciting action spy film with the usual endearing and silly James Bond shenanigans. This is a film for the fans of classic Bond; so if that’s you, I highly recommend it. I’ll give it 3 out of 5 stars.
And don’t get me started on the theme song, which might be the worst Bond theme I’ve ever heard.