SPECTRE (2015) Review



SPECTRE feels like classic Bond with Christoph Waltz stealing the film with every scene and Daniel Craig finally feeling comfortable in the role of 007; some of the pacing is a little slow and it does lack the spectacle or earlier movies but the haunting visuals and foreboding atmosphere are a welcome touch.

Plot: A cryptic message from the past leads James Bond (Daniel Craig) to Mexico City and Rome, where he meets the beautiful widow (Monica Bellucci) of an infamous criminal. After infiltrating a secret meeting, 007 uncovers the existence of the sinister organization SPECTRE. Needing the help of the daughter of an old nemesis, he embarks on a mission to find her. As Bond ventures toward the heart of SPECTRE, he discovers a chilling connection between himself and the enemy (Christoph Waltz) he seeks.

Review: I make no secret that I am a huge James Bond fan; growing up a 007 movie would usually be on over the weekend and I would watch them religiously. Connery will always be the gold standard but I’ve always had a soft spot for Roger Moore too. The appeal of Bond has always been the girls, gadgets, glamour and one-liners; I think that’s why I wasn’t such a huge fan of Skyfall. It was entertaining and beautifully shot but it was also incredibly serious and lacked a sense of fun.

The trailers for SPECTRE made the film look like it was going to be another sour faced entry in the franchise which admittedly it is but there is a little more humour to it and at times it does feel like classic Bond. Everyone looks for something different from a 007 movie but SPECTRE managed to feel new but also pay respect to the older movies which we know and love.

Daniel Craig finally seems comfortable in his own skin and feels like the Bond I’ve been wanting to see. He’s suave, cool and has found his sense of humour; there are a few one-liners but nothing cheesy and it really worked for a modern audience.

I’ve heard people say that there aren’t any big set-pieces but maybe they were watching a different film from me. The opening scene in Mexico City sets the movie up nicely and the helicopter sequence is the type of over the top action I love in my Bond flicks.

Sam Mendes returns to direct so we know that it will look amazing and it didn’t disappoint; every scene looks superb and all of the action sequences are nicely done. A fight scene on a train between Bond and Dave Bautista’s henchman hearkens back to From Russia with Love and is one of the most intense fight scenes of 007’s career.

There is still the odd pacing issue, especially in the mid-section and they probably could have cut all of Monica Bellucci’s scenes and the film would have lost nothing. The plot is also pretty bare bones but this is a James Bond movie so it doesn’t really matter.

SPECTRE has this atmosphere of impending threat right from the start; this is mostly due to Christoph Waltz who is the best Bond villain for many years and is one of the few times a bad guy in this series is genuinely chilling. Everyone is afraid of him and it’s amazing how intimidating a simple nod of the head can be. One of my favourite aspects of the film are the psychological mind games he plays with Bond and makes him and the movie’s tone all the more menacing.

The music score is quite different from the big brass we are used to but is impressive especially during the car chase through Rome where epic choirs come in, cementing it as one of the best Bond scores in a long time. Still not sure about Sam Smith’s theme tune but I love the orchestra in the background.

*Spoiler alert* People have complained that we don’t see enough of Blofeld in SPECTRE but I thought we saw him more than we do in most 007 movies; he is a puppet master always in the background as he should be and doesn’t need to be in every scene. Like everyone else however, I do hate the twist about their past and think that was a mistake but it didn’t especially detract from my enjoyment.

Overall, SPECTRE feels like classic Bond with Waltz stealing the film with every scene; some of the pacing is a little slow but it has more of an espionage feel of the older films which is no bad thing.