Each and every James Bond film seems to follow the same story outline that comes with a few changes and surprises. With a “license” to kill, Ian Fleming’s secret agent 007 aka James Bond‘s missions by now should have taken him down a darker road.
It’s not entirely impossible for an agent like Bond to go rogue because not only is he a lone ranger, the way he carries out his missions also raises eyebrows. His superiors often question his fitness for duty when he does things his own way without offering any explanation.
However, with Bond attempting to discover a shadowy organisation through a cryptic message from his past, “Spectre” is, unfortunately, yet another classic Bond film that brings nothing new to the franchise.
“Spectre”, which is director Sam Mendes’ follow-up to “Skyfall“, has brought Hollywood A-lister Daniel Craig back to the franchise for his role as the infamous well-dressed secret agent/assassin, 007.
The story takes place in the aftermath of the bombing of MI6, where Gareth Mallory (played by Ralph Fiennes) is appointed as the new M aka Bond’s new boss. While the new M tries to fight the political pressures that threaten the future of MI6, Bond searches for a secret sinister organisation that is apparently responsible for multiple terrorist attacks that had happened in the past.
And just like that, the organisation that has been hiding in the shadow for years forces connections between the previous Bond films including “Casino Royale”, “Quantam Solace”, and “Skyfall”.
The new big bad in this film is Franz Oberhauser (played by Christoph Waltz), an enemy who knows Bond better than anyone else, even Bond himself. He holds a “dangerous” secret that forces Bond to question the value of everything he has fought to protect.
Waltz is undoubtedly a brilliant actor, what with all the malicious persona he demonstrated in Quentin Tarantino‘s films. However, he was not as menacing as we expected him to be. One might have expected to see an epic one-on-one showdown between Bond and Oberhauser, but there’s no such thing in “Spectre”.
Not that we were expecting gory torture porn, but what we saw was Bond being strapped to a computerised chair controlled by Oberhauser while a tiny robotic drill penetrates his skull. As compared to the previous Bond films, this so-called torturous scene wasn’t at all delightful or impressive.
Perhaps the problem lies on the script, as the writers decided to let Bond have a more epic showdown with thick-necked henchman Mr. Hinx (played by Dave Bautista of “Guardians of the Galaxy” fame).
Throughout the entire movie, we see Bond attempting to take out Mr. Hinx in almost every action scene. A death-defying car chase first ensues through Rome and after Bond meets Austrian doctor Madeleine Swann (played by Léa Seydoux), an even more dramatic car chase ensues in the Alps. While Bond and Swann are travelling on a passenger train, a close-quarters fistfight ensues between the suave spy and the hencheman.
All these action scenes eventually caused Oberhauser’s supposedly intense confrontation with Bond to fizzle out. In fact, Bond wreaks even more destruction during a Day of the Dead parade in the pre-credits sequence than the main villain he’s trying to foil.
There’s more humour in “Spectre” than the previous Bond films that Craig has starred in.
While it’s not filled with an abundance of jokes, Mendes ensure that “Spectre” is more than just a tale of espionage and war. Case in point, the car chase through Rome. It was supposed to be an intense action sequence, but its intensity is eventually levelled down by some gag reel where Bond finds himself dealing with unfamiliar gadgets in the car. He is also stuck behind a slow-moving car whose driver is too busy to even realise that there’s a car chase going on.
A genius and Bond’s long-time accomplice, Q (played by Ben Whishaw) provides some laughs too, further proving that he is a natural at comedy. But as expected, both Moneypenny (played by Naomie Harris) and Q weren’t offered much scenes in this movie.
Joining the film anew is Andrew Scott, who is perhaps best known for his role as the menacing Moriarity in BBC’s “Sherlock“. Though he only plays a supporting role, his scenes and his smirks are pretty memorable.
It’s good to know that Bond is finally getting an age-appropriate lover ala Monica Bellucci (2 years older than Craig), but unfortunately her scenes are so short that they feel unnecessary. Bond eventually ditched her for the 30-year old Seydoux.
The editing and the overall cinematography of “Spectre” are splendid, though a few moments were ruined by unnecessary jokes. Even without the presence of blood and guts, the movie succeeded in mapping out some carefully orchestrated action sequences. The car-chasing scenes that took place in the Alps further ensured that the film revels in quality instead of quantity.
Running at 148 minutes, “Spectre” is the longest Bond movie ever. Despite the time, the film will leave you “shaken, not stirred”.
“Spectre” is open in the cinemas near you today (5th November 2015).
For more information, visit the movie’s official website.