Spectre (2015)

A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.

The latest James Bond film has been out in Cinemas for over a month now but in the UK it is still drawing sell-out crowds at least in my local cinema and as a result I was not able to see it until last night, having recently rewatched Skyfall in preparation. Spectre is the fourth film to feature Daniel Craig and comes on the back of the trilogy of films that was essentially Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall. This movie essentially is an epilogue to those three films as director Sam Mendes aims to wrap up loose ends left behind, potentially conclude Daniel Craig’s tenure as Bond, as well as introduce a new, sinister big bad for future movies that hopefully will see the continuation of Christopher Waltz in the lead antagonist role, because as always, he did ace this film as the sinister antagonist. If anything, he should have been given more screentime, because he was arguably the best thing about this movie.

Spectre opens in Mexico at the Day of the Dead Festival featuring James Bond chasing after an antagonist off the books and without aid from MI6, who are under threat from losing their 00 program to the drones and the high tech security world of MI5, lead by Andrew Scott’s C, who acts as a thorn in the side for Ralph Fiennes’ M, as Bond and his Division are viewed as antique and ancient in a world where drones can do the same job that spies do without potentially causing an international incident like Bond just did when he stopped a bomb from going off at a stadium killing several people, but blew up an entire block of the city instead. This is where the problems come in. If Spectre had been released a couple of years earlier I would have no doubt been in favour of its plot, but unfortunately, coming off the back of two super-enjoyable and fun movies that just pulled the same thing, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, it almost feels like James Bond is late to the party on this one. It’s a good film, don’t get me wrong, it’s just maybe a poor time to release the film with these two so fresh in audience’s minds (It didn’t help that there was a trailer for the DVD release of Rogue Nation right before the screening of Spectre).

Craig as ever is solid as Bond as he digs deeper into the organization that is Spectre and its sinister antagonist whose name I won’t spoil (Christopher Waltz plays him though) here. The same cast makes their return from Skyfall – Naomi Harris as Moneypenny, Ben Whishaw as Q, and Ralph Fiennes gets more hands on in the action sequences this time around as M. Other newcomers include Dave Bautista from Guardians of the Galaxy as a muscular Spectre henchman who doesn’t unfortunately get much to do here other than say literally a couple of words and chase Bond through the streets of Rome. And Lea Seydoux plays Madeline Swann, Bond’s love interest for the film. All the cast is solid as you’d expect and each put in decent performances.

The action sequences are ramped up a notch for Spectre. Right from the opening Day of the Dead scene in Mexico City you know you’re going to get more intense fight scenes and that doesn’t disappoint. The final sequence may not match Skyfall’s battle at the Manor, but it is played out very well indeed with a suitably strong atmosphere. The film may not be perfect as it does feel way too long in places, but on the whole, Spectre is still a decent, enjoyable spy movie that comes recommended. Oh, and I’m still not too keen on Sam Smith’s Writings on the Wall, even if it did work better in the context of the film.

VERDICT: 8/10

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