For reasons unknown, I never got round to publishing this, but I wrote it right after I saw Spectre in the middle of November, so it is still a fresh review from a fresh perspective, just not for your eyes for about a month…
Spectre may the worst of all the Daniel Craig James Bond movies, even worse than Quantum of Solace. That’s not to say that either of the two are bad, but Skyfall and Casino Royale were fantastic, so by comparison they are extremely disappointing.
It’s a shame because Spectre does many things right. The cold opening was a very strong start with impressive cinematography and score, and the story was told through minimal dialogue.
The acting is great, the stunts and action scenes are incredible. There’s even a pair of satisfying Michael Bay explosions.
Spectre tries to tie its plot to the other Daniel Craig movies, and that’s where problems start.
The Sony leak revealed there was concerns about the film being over budget, and the word “over” describes this movie in many ways. It’s over budget, over long, overly convoluted, and at times even feels overdone. At other times it’s undercooked, many story elements aren’t explained adequately. I watched Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace a few days before watching Spectre, and if I hadn’t I would have not understood the references, especially to Vesper from the first movie, who still seems to be there without actually being there.
Another example of this is the previous M who passed away in the last movie. Bond partakes in an unofficial mission that she asked him to do in a video she left.
The writing is quite predictable. Of course Bond is going to disobey orders to stand down from duty. Of course that order is going to be made, and of course they are going to want him back by the end of it.
The two villains are simply not memorable. C is in a power struggle with the new M. C wants to replace the 00 program with Nine Eyes, which is a mass surveillance operation involving nine countries. Blofeld is Bond’s step brother, who seems to harbour some resentment towards Bond’s relationship with Blofeld’s actual father, which is why he killed him and started Spectre. He apparently is responsible for all the bad things that have happened to Bond in the last few movies.
Lea Seydoux is a great actress but she’s back to damsel in distress and has daddy issues. She falls in love with Bond, naturally. Worst part is when they make a big scene when she decides to dramatically walk away, and you just know that something is going to happen to her. And of course, she becomes a hostage.
The movie goes on for bloody ages, about two and a half hours. Even Avengers: Age of Ultron was easier to understand. Quantum of Solace was equally incomprehensible, but at least that movie was under two hours.
There’s parts of a great movie here, but unfortunately some bad decisions and writing lets it down. Bond fans will still get a kick out of Daniel Craig’s acting, the action, the score and that magnificent opening scene.