Despite the countless times I’ve seen the promotion for the inevitable James Bond films, they’ve never been something I’ve gone to the theater for. This year, that changed. A random Saturday morning discussion led to an afternoon showing and I walked out of the theater having enjoyed an entertaining 2 ½ hours sitting in a theater seat complete with a bag of popcorn.
Spectre (2015) Film Review
Since M’s death, James Bond (Daniel Craig) has been working on one last thing for her. You see, she left him a last request, one more mission, if you will. The first step leads him to Mexico where he has to take out someone in pursuit of his first clue. Cryptic though the clues are, this leads to a silver ring with a symbol on it. His latest national incident angers M (Ralph Fiennes) who expects more from his best agent. Of course, this means that M orders new precautions be taken the first of which is sidelining Bond; and the second involves Q (Ben Whitshaw) implanting cutting edge tracking technology on 007.
Eventually, after getting a favor from Q and stealing some cool gadgets, his investigation leads him to Madeline (Léa Seydoux). A prominent psychiatrist who also happens to be the daughter of an assassin, she may have the answers to complete this mission. A journey that might not only be 007’s last but also that of the program he has so faithfully served.
Aside from Skyfall, I’ve never seen a Bond film in full. Though I did see scattered bits and pieces of other films from the franchise. I did also watch the BBC adaptation about his creator, Ian Flemming in Flemming: The Man who Would be Bond. For only my second film in this, Hollywood’s longest running franchise I must admit Spectre was amazing. The concept and lighter script did wonders for the character of James Bond not to mention for the franchise itself.
I don’t remember Skyfall in full, but what I do remember is it being complex. Spectre adopts a lighter tone by, ironically, digging into its heroes psyche. While the film is kind of an ode to doing right by M (whom Judi Deanch famously plays in prior films), this explores Bond’s past. I don’t think many films have done this, or at least not as seen in Craig’s era. James Bond is the kind of character who keeps to the shadows where his past is concerned. The way the writer’s wove the two stories together was fun as was the entire scope of the film.
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As is superior to any Bond film, the cast is dynamite. I’m not Craig’s biggest fan (I could take him or leave him), but do believe he does this role justice. He’s got that “icy” cool demeanor that works to sell the role of a spy. Seeing Finnes, Whitshaw (I nearly exclaimed when I saw his face as my new addiction is BBC’s The Hour), Andrew Scott (Sherlock), Christoph Waltz, and Lea were fantastic as everyone played their roles to as near perfection as could be. There wasn’t a weak link in the cast. Naomie Harris also returned as Moneypenny which was great fun. I was disappointed she wasn’t more involved than she was because her character has more to contribute (her part in the unraveling also wasn’t explained as it should have been).
I also appreciated the role Lea played in this film. Sure she’s a pretty face but the writer’s give her a more important role than merely arm candy. She has a purpose and a good one at that. She triggers something in James as a person instead of merely being the means to an end, and I respect that. Whether or not anything will be come of it in the next Bond outing is entirely another matter. But for now, at least, there is reason to smile at the credits rolling. Anything else is a story for another day.
The glitz and glamour of these films is a trademark and Spectre is no different. There are cool cars, beautiful evening wear and an overall sophistication that cannot be pinned down or attributed to any one fact. But then, that’s what a fun blockbuster film with a well-tailored man in a suit can achieve.
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You can find Spectre digitally on Amazon Video
Content: there’s a handful of sensual scenes that involve zippers being undone and passionate kissing before the camera cuts away, leaving the rest to the imagination. James is seen leaving a woman’s room [he’s dressed, she’s sitting on the bed in lingerie]. There are lots of explosions and tense hand-to-hand combat scenes – including many that end in death. One situation also involves torture [needles inserted into the brain]. The film is PG13.