It’s very hard for me to dislike a movie. Usually because I follow the production phase so closely that I begin to understand why the director chose this or chose that. “Spectre” is that film that got okay reviews (Currently holds a 62% on Rotten Tomatoes) but people seem to deeply enjoy it. I deeply enjoyed it. However, I understand why many felt the film wasn’t that great.
For one, the film backtracks massively to previous installments. It starts out it’s own thing. James Bond (Played by Daniel Craig) receives a mysterious message from former M (Played by Judi Dench) from beyond the grave, asking Bond to kill a man and then go to his funeral. We start out with an impressive one take sequence of Bond dressed in a skeleton mask in Mexico City during a Day of the Dead festival. The camera pans and follows beautifully as Craig rides up a hotel elevator with a girl on hand (As usual) before leaving her in the room, hopping out the window, and walking along the building’s roof to secure a sniper position. Following, without much else reveal, is a lot of crazy stunts and Bond getting his man.
From there it begins to slowly fall into certain familiar territory. One thing that Craig’s Bond has been about is breaking the rules, allowing his “License to Kill” to serve as a shield. However, it is through this familiar territory Mendes finds new ground. He decides to, following the events he set up in “Skyfall”, show MI6 facing being merged with another division in the British government and Bond’s “00 Program” being terminated. This lends into a similar trend “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” was covering earlier this year. Is a transparent spy agency best for everyone?
Mendes decides to cover this aspect by showing Bond’s willingness to go as far as possible to find his enemy, the famous organization SPECTRE (Now called Spectre instead of an acronym) and it’s leader Ernst Stavro Blofeld, whose real name is Franz Oberhauser, played with mercilessness by actor Christoph Waltz. Of course, being that the new thing, is everything is somehow connected to the main character’s past, you find out Oberhauser knew Bond as a child after Bond’s parents died. That ends up coming full circle to Bond’s present of course.
The reason I don’t judge too harshly is I think of another recent rebooted series where they started out original but, instead of reimagining stuff, just rip off a previous villain. What was that one again? Oh yeah…
“Star Trek: Into Darkness” has a 87% rating on Rotten Tomatoes for basically using plot elements and exact scenes from “The Wrath of Khan”. I smell hypocrisy.
The difference is though, is that Mendes didn’t just take everything from previous films, he commented on them. That is the genius of “Spectre”. It served to comment on Bond’s very nature and his job, tying them together as he worked to stop Blofeld from breaking him personally and professionally. I won’t ruin much else, but Mendes’s “Spectre” is far better than it’s being reviewed. Crafted with sharp cinematography, Craig’s continued excellent work as Bond, and a story that brings everything together (With Spectre serving as a sort of overseer of all that has happened to Bond), “Spectre” is worth much more. It finds a way to justify “Quantum of Solace” as well (Unanimously considered one of the worst Bond films, yet has a 65% on Rotten Tomatoes). In fact, the return of Mr. White (Played by Jesper Christensen) added one of the most intense and emotional moments of the story which catapulted Bond in the final act.
On a side note, it took them long enough, but actress Monica Bellucci finally being a Bond girl was exactly what you’d expect it to be along with actress Léa Seydoux as Dr. Madeleine Swann doing what many Bond girl’s haven’t done in a long time…crack that armor that Bond wears.
Overall, I give “Spectre” a 8 out of 10 for tying together all of Craig’s movies while further exploring Bond’s personal journey, in a way most of the Bond films have never dared, while still offering all the 007 action, torture, and women you can ask for. One major critique was that many felt it was too formulaic. Not to mention all the regulars of the series (Most of whom were brought back in “Skyfall” like Q and Moneypenny) all played their parts with dedication. Even Dave Bautista was great the silent assassion News flash…it’s the 24TH FILM IN THE BOND SERIES. It has a formula for a reason. That formula is the base work of the Bond films that each director adds to. And Mendes, being a clear Bond fanatic, took his love of the gentlemen spy’s tales and brought them further into the 21st century. Oh and he broke a Guinness record for biggest explosion in a film. So this movie isn’t going away any time soon. It’s in the history books…literally.