A good (not great) sequel in the masterful Craig films.
Daniel Craig has proven himself as one of the best Bonds ever put screen. With reports of Ian Fleming's disliking of the Sean Connery films, Casino Royale seemed to be a film that was constructed more in Fleming's vision for the character.
Craig's films spawn off of the idea that Bond isn't an Austin Powers. He isn't the type of spy that go around cracking jokes, having sex, and occasionally fighting ridiculous villains. No, Craig's films see a real man, with real issues, in a real world, one with grit, love, and heartbreak.
In 2006, Casino Royale was immediately a hit based straight out of Ian Fleming's original Bond book. It was a film that opened up a lot of doors to where Bond would go. It was followed by a very underwhelming Quantum of Solace, which was immediately rescued by the critically acclaimed Skyfall.
By just expressing Daniel Craig's Bond legacy so far, I have put an amazing amount of pressure on Spectre. But does it live up to the hype? I'm sorry to tell you that it does not.
But at the same time I'll tell you that this is one of the best Bond movies I've ever seen.
Spectre is gorgeous. Period.
Let me get into the good stuff about Spectre. The most notable part of Spectre is that it is undeniably the most beautifully shot Bond film I have ever seen. From the one-shot-take in the opening scene, to the brilliant hand held to convey Bond's constant movement, Hoyte Van Hoytema proves himself as one of the greats.
Coming straight off his masterful work on interstellar, it really speaks to his talent that he is immediately able to embody a totally different style that really shines in the cinema.
Everything about the way this film looks makes it all the more enjoyable, but visuals aren't everything... What about the story?
This is where greatness falls to goodness.
The idea and story of this film are near perfect. Every moment the stakes are incredibly high, the ideas of the film more personal than ever, and closing all of the gaps made in Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Skyfall is utterly brilliant. Unfortunately, the execution is far less than perfect...
As you begin to dissect the film itself, you don't find many plot holes; (edit: Rewatching the film... There are definitely some plot holes I didn't notice the first time.) and the plot doesn't feel convoluted. It just feels like there were a ton missed opportunities.
There is a Bond girl that is introduced as an attempt by the filmmakers to last alot longer than a usual bond girl. This character was almost introduced as a permanent sidekick to Bond. In my opinion this Bond girl doesn't have a strong enough character to be a permanent Bond lover. The concept of a character like her is incredible, but the end result was the combination of a tough female spy with a normal dormant Bond girl. It is kind of awkward and I didn't buy it that much. Although I still enjoyed the relationship in the film, it just went a little too far.
There is also a subplot in the film about how the MI6 program isn't needed any more and how information and drones are the future. The subplot is led by an incredible performing Andrew Scott who you may know as Moriarty from Sherlock. This subplot appears to be interesting in the beginning but ends up falling short in the long run.
The villain to rule them all... Wait, what?
One of my biggest hopes with the film was that it would have an amazing villain. It doesn't seem too much to ask considering they cast oscar winning, Christoph Waltz, as the master villain. But does he succeed? Sort of.
The performance is awesome. The character shows a lot of promise in the beginning but ultimately feels a bit shallow and unexplored at the end. He literally shows up for four scenes, teasing twists that might happen. But none of these teases are ever fulfilled, which leaves you scratching your head at the end.
This villain begins to tie up loose ends with the last films, but simultaneously creates more questions about the past. The questions from the trailer, "where does this man come from, what is his relation to Bond and the other films?" is still left unanswered when you leave the theatre.
This would have been okay if they left it open ended, which *SPOILER ALERT* they didn't.
He's still got it. With this movie Craig has proven that he is one of the best, if not the best, Bond there has ever been.
The action sequences in this movie are astounding and there are some breathtaking locations. Daniel Craig can still manage to pull off amazing stunt sequences and an interesting character at the same time. Yes, I do think Daniel Craig has really found something unique in this character and I sure hope he returns to the role.
The truth is, the filmmakers chose to go with the more traditional Bond formula. But some people miss that feeling, and I think it will broaden the audience. I do acknowledge that critics were disappointed by this film's return to the classic Bond feeling, but I refuse to call it a flaw.
I think Craig has envisioned this since the beginning. I think it could of had more balance of the cliches and realism. My biggest flaw with this movie is the lack of completion. It feels a bit empty in the end. This film isn't perfect and no film is, but I really don't think it is dumb or awful as some would lead you to believe. This film is entertaining; the story is good, the cast is brilliant, and the cinematography is worth your ticket alone.
Go see it in theatres. It's a good movie. Just keep your expectations realistic and be open minded.
Writer, Director, Editor