Spectre Review

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By Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)

Usually when we go to the movies, we go to see a film. Something that is a stand-alone story, that we accept it for what it is, and move on to the next. Other times, we go to the movies to see a film that is a part of a franchise. Now, if a film becomes part of a franchise, there’s a good chance that the films are, usually, well-liked and well-received by the public. I mean, a series isn’t going to continue to be made if audiences think it’s crap. This is definitely not the case with the James Bond franchise. You’d be hard pressed to name a franchise with more films to its name and, with Spectre, there are now 24 films in ever growing franchise.

We pick up with James Bond (Daniel Craig), in Mexico during the Day of the Dead celebration, on the hunt. The only difference this time: this is not a sanctioned mission from MI6. After returning home, the none-too-happy M (Ralph Fiennes) has words with James. With M (Judi Dench) now gone, MI6 is now under new management, if you will. Enter C (Andrew Scott), a man with an idea to unify the world’s agencies into one globally linked task force. The goal: to know where everyone is and what everyone is doing at any given moment. This doesn’t bode well for Bond, who has one last mission he must complete on his own. With the help of a former nemesis’ daughter, Madeline Swann (Lea Seydoux), Q (Ben Whishaw), and Moneypenny (Naomie Harris), Bond heads out to take down a global organization called Spectre, led by Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz), a villainous mastermind who is also hunting Bond.

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Spectre is one of those Bond films that has its highs and lows. On the one side, there is plenty of action and entertainment, fun quips from Bond, intense chase scenes and, the standard, Bond girls. On the other hand, if you stop for a moment and think about the situation, or what previously happened, there are times where there isn’t any way things could actually play out as they did. This is a film where you need to go in and not actually analyze aspects of the narrative, if you want to enjoy it in its fullest. Sam Mendes is back in the directing chair after the huge success that was Skyfall, yet Spectre tends to play out more like a ‘by the book’ action film. Spectre does, however, round out the overall story in this four film sequence, tying everything together in a nice little box with a bow, answering many of our lingering questions.

It’s hard to imagine anyone coming after Daniel Craig and playing James Bond. He has reimagined the character, making him much more real and raw, compared to the Bonds of old who relied on fancy gadgets from Q. This Bond can do without gadgets and tricks, and just focus on being a badass MI6 operative. It’s like Craig was born to play James Bond, and we should all thank his parents for bringing him into the world and fulfilling that role. He’s once again great with the material he has to work with. It’s almost like an old shoe at this point, something worn and comfortable that you don’t mind putting on over and over again. Christoph Waltz also feels like he was cast in a role he was meant to play, yet doesn’t get the screen time that we would necessarily like from an actor of his caliber. Much like Javier Bardem in Skyfall, we want to see more of such fine actors. Ben Whishaw is hilarious and subtle as Q, while Ralph Fiennes finds added depth in the script and brings that intensity to the screen we’ve known him for in the past. Lea Seydoux is this year’s Bond girl, but takes on a more personal and independent role. She’s not your typical Bond girl and can more than hold her own. Another actor, if you want to call him that, is former wrestler Dave Bautista, who brings a menacing force to his almost wordless role.

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Spectre may not be the best Bond film starring Daniel Craig, and part of that may be because it came after Skyfall, which was epically good. There is a lot of plot in the film and the pacing can become sluggish at times, but the follow through is there and the action sequences are top notch, as we’ve come to expect from a Daniel Craig Bond film. Spectre does nothing to hurt the franchise and, as the ending suggests, there are more Bond shenanigans to come. MI6 is still around and there are still bad guys out there who want to destroy the world, so we’ll always have a James Bond to defend it.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


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