While MI6 is threatened with the closure of its 00 program, James Bond is off to discover a possible connection between all of his adversaries: a mysterious organisation named Spectre.
With sequels chasing each other in nearly every franchise, it’s become increasingly difficult to judge each film on its own merit. While Skyfall was certainly a good film, it was made better in comparison with Quantum of Solace.
Nevertheless the last Bond was seen by purists as too introspective, too doubtful and smacked like the end of an icon.
While the future of James Bond was indeed in doubt at that time, Skyfall’s commercial success provided a quick resurrection.
Instead of starting a completely new story, director Sam Mendes and his team of writers, including long-time Bond screenplay writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, chose to make Spectre the end point of a whole arc, starting with Casino Royale.
With the exception of Quantum of Solace, the one Bond film of recent times many viewers would much rather forget, these allusions to previous happening are more likely to be Easter eggs however, Spectre can be enjoyed without deep knowledge of the plot of previous instalments.
That’s on one hand because there is not all that much of a plot to pay attention to in Spectre.
The idea of combining everything may sound complicated, but Spectre returns to the formula of putting action before plot.
Daniel Craig’s Bond again does what he does best, running off from country to country chasing or being chased.
From the breath-taking opening sequence in Mexico City, filled with people dressed in costumes celebrating The Day Of The Dead, to the snowy mountains of Switzerland to the deserts of Morocco, the locations are once again varied are part of James Bond like cocktails and Bond girls.
Speaking of Bond girls, one of them is definitely a lady: Monica Bellucci provides a short distraction, while Leá Seydoux is thankfully a force of her own rather than a damsel in distress. Both of them are portrayed as strong women, which makes the relationship dynamics with Bond much more interesting than the casual sexism we have become used to.
For action fans Spectre is a real feast, however the plot may prove jarring for some, not only because connections are simply made up out of thin air, clues that are stumbled upon or freely given in conversations. It makes for a plot that cannot provide much intrigue.
Unfortunately the big bad, played by Christoph Waltz, suffers from Waltz’s penchant for overdramatic acting, with the addition of a white cat he would be perfect in Austin Powers.
All his power is implied, rather than shown.
For comic relief, Spectre provides us with Q (Ben Whishaw) as unlikely sidekick, and for downtime between action sequences we follow M (Ralph Fiennes) into strictly corporate warfare with C (Andrew Scott), another actor who is criminally underused by playing a very obvious antagonist.
Spectre sees Bond return to an old formula that will keep purists happy, but that is once again starting to seem slightly outdated with more intelligent spy thrillers on the market.
More “old-school”, Spectre may disappoint those who like Skyfall best, but it holds its own as slick actioner with low ambitions.
Director: Sam Mendes
Starring: Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennnes, Leá Seydoux, Monica Bellucci, Ben Whishaw, Andrew Scott
Running Time: 148 min
Release Date: 26 October 2015