Possibly Daniel Craig’s last license to kill, Spectre infiltrates the Theatres with high expectations. The 24th installment of the James Bond franchise has been eagerly awaited after Skyfall (2012).
While Skyfall earned itself a very respectable $1.1 billion worldwide, with a reported budget of near $250 million and a marketing spend of around $150 million Spectre needed to be hitting some big revenues itself also.
Being mediocre isn’t an option for Spectre, and since this year isn’t the anniversary of Bond nor is the Queen getting involved to help with marketing, this film lacks the anticipation and excitement that Skyfall had pre-release.
Craigs’ Bond enters the fourth chapter, and this most recent installment of Bond ties his four films together elevating the main character to his fully formed status as the veteran spy. The film begins with big excitement. A fantastic set at a Day-of-the-Dead parade in Mexico City where Bond is on a rogue mission. The scene moves briskly, Bond typically accompanied by an attractive young lady on his arm, he sees his target, a shoot up, big explosions, a collapsed building, more chasing, then an over dramatic out of control helicopter teasing the plaza full of revelers with death. It doesn’t match the gripping tension of Skyfalls opening chase, but is nonetheless gripping.
On the visual front, the action shots remained smooth which is testament to cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema, yet the sports car chase featuring the beautiful Aston Martin DB10 was a huge anti-climax for me. The car cruising along the Tiber gliding around the tight corners is a pleasure to watch, featuring old Bond style gadgets, but the fast paced bracing action was absent with the scene ending in flames and at the bottom of a canal.
Throughout the film it was hard to keep up with Bond’s pursuit as he followed leads worldwide trying to get to the top of a massive criminal enterprise. Nonetheless along the way Bond picks up two beautiful women as is traditionally expected in 007 films. The first played by the beautiful Monica Bellucci, who was wooed straight after the funeral of her late husband… shame on you Bond. Second is Lea Seydoux, a perfect companion for Bond’s troubled missions. Unfortunately neither women had much to offer to the story despite the early promise the characters showed.
Back in London, England, Ralph Fiennes fulfills his role as M very well (but no one is better than Judi Dench). Accompanied by Q (Ben Wilshaw who is perfect for the role), trouble arises as the ‘double 0’ section is threatened by a curious new surveillance program and M, Q and Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) have battles of their own to fight. Its good to see the headquarters section getting in on the action, defending the fort. The film offers obvious conveniences which Bond invites in at his own peril… does he not learn to take the short cuts rather than suffering?
The film ends up lasting a little too long for my liking, the impulse and suspense is somewhat lost as the final showdown is set in motion. The Villain (although fabulously portrayed by Christopher Waltz) we rarely know anything about, and struggles to connect to Bond.
Spectre is a relatively sloppy sequel entwining the previous 3 Bonds, climaxes are left unsatisfied despite the beautiful locations picked out by Sam Mendes. The strenuous 150 minute long installment should have been more entertaining after the hype that Skyfall gave us.
Overall, it’s a must see, clearing up the past with some excitement and typical Bond charm yet 150 minutes long and I’m left filled with a touch of disappointment.