‘Spectre’ Falls Short of ‘Skyfall’ and ‘Royale’

November 6, 2015116 min

I have followed James Bond for a while; I’m a fan, like much of the world is. Bond is the man and always will be in my opinion. One of the most captivating things about the Bond franchise is how, every few years, we receive a new actor and take on Bond. From Sean Connery to Daniel Craig there have been some brilliance and some sizzle.

When Craig stepped into the role of Bond with ‘Casino Royale,’ audiences were taken back to how much they loved Bond movies. Royale went for a gritty and somber tone. It took out the cheekiness of former Bond approaches and replaced it with the same spirit that Christopher Nolan had injected into the Batman franchise. Most importantly, it rebooted the series and showed us how, Bond ended up scarred, alone and an assassin.

In the fourth Craig entry, Bond is lead to Mexico City, where he begins to unravel a web of corruption that extends to every villain that he has faced. He discovers that an organization named “Spectre” is pulling strings from behind the scenes and has a foothold on the world. It is up to Bond to go rogue from MI6 and take down Spectre before it is too late.

‘Spectre’ is an enjoyable Bond movie. While it isn’t in the same ballpark as ‘Skyfall’ or ‘Casino Royale,’ but it is definitely better than ‘Quantum of Solace.’ There are still big action set pieces, some awesome practical stunt work and explosions that are the hallmark of any self-respecting Bond movie. It falls short when it begins to pander to an audience that has been asking, “Where are the Gadgets and whit?”

The serious tone isn’t as present as it was in previous entries. There are brief bits of cheekiness that would have fit in Pierce Brosnan or Roger Moore’s worlds of Bond, but feel forced and gimmicky when pushed into a more serious world. Especially, when the plot revolves around some serious big brother surveillance themes. The reality of the villains plot is hauntingly real world. It confuses me why they would go with a serious subject in a somber franchise and dull out some cheeky bits of dialogue and atmosphere sporadically throughout.

The good news is that the film does play heavily into the Bond fandom. From Bond wearing a Baron Samedi inspired costume in the beginning of the film, to a train ride reminiscent of ‘From Russia with Love’ as well as several other bits, this is by far a Bond historian’s treasure trove of Easter eggs.

New bad guys Christoph Waltz and Dave Batista are fantastic and bring a classic villain feel to the film without making it feel forced or silly. These two are the best villains that the franchise has offered up in the Craig era.

This is a Bond film, which means Bond fans are going to like it. Like myself, you might not love it but it is impossible for a true Bond film to hate any of them. Well maybe we are allowed to hate ‘Die Another Day.’ No matter the case, it is better to live and let die and go have a shaken and not stirred martini, instead of becoming too critical of what is still a Bond movie at the end of the day.

Trey Hilburn III

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