*Light Spoilers throughout the review. Just wanted to mention the highs and lows.*
Appropriate introductions are in order. Bond…James Bond. The 24th installment of the long-running franchise of British spy movies was released worldwide on November 4th, 2015, and as of that date is the most expensive Bond film ever made, with a cost exceeding nearly $250 million. The ever-growing popularity of the series has caused the box office to triple that amount in proceeds around the globe. Alright, if nothing else, you need to see this movie for it’s opening track shot. It lasts about five minutes, uses a number of zoom-in/zoom-out techniques, and is set in the backdrop of Mexico City on the Day of the Dead. The majority of the rest of the film can be summed up in one word: underwhelming. I don’t mean to mislead you, it’s not a bad movie. However, it fails to live up to the success of it’s predecessor, Skyfall, which was a commercial smash and critical darling. Now, on with Spectre, what I liked about it and what I felt could’ve been better. The film begins in Mexico City revolving around 007’s disastrous yet successful assassination of a target posthumously assigned off the books by the deceased M. He is indefinitely grounded by MI6’s new M, played very well by Ralph Fiennes, who is struggling to come to grips with all the new surveillance systems operated by a mysterious man named C. James Bond discovers that the man he assassinated was connected to a larger organization called SPECTRE, which is essentially the quintessential evil corporation. This organization actually ties together the previous Daniel Craig Bond films rather well. Le Chiffre, Mr. White, Raoul Silva, Dominic Greene, Vesper, Quantum; they were all just separate subordinates of SPECTRE. I enjoyed seeing that, because it made the previous films feel relevant to the overall story. However, it was rather disappointing to see that many of the new characters didn’t get as much screen time or character development as one would have hoped. Case in point, the character C wasn’t in front of the camera that often, but the casting of Andrew Scott felt like typecasting. He had already played Moriarty, and so you could see his true motivations coming a mile away. The villain himself, though played tremendously well by Christoph Waltz, felt very similar to his previous characters in Quentin Tarantino films. Moneypenny is in Spectre, though. She really doesn’t do much. She’s in this movie for the sake of “if Moneypenny wasn’t in a James Bond movie, that would be weird.” there’s no doubt in my mind, however, that Daniel Craig still kicks some major ass as 007. Quite literally, as the henchman who’s chasing him around for about a third of the film is played by famous wrestler, Dave Bautista, who also played Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy if you’re unfamiliar. I’m going to tell about the two Bond Girls in this movie. Monica Bellucci was completely inconsequential to the story and characters. Lea Seydoux, on the other hand, is a big part of the plot and has a better personality then some other Bond Girls of the past. But again, she didn’t get enough screen time to truly show that. Now we’re just going to skip to the two biggest problems with the movie, because I feel these are the essential things you need to know before you decide on seeing the movie or not. First off, the pacing feels very inconsistent. Especially in the first act because there’s so much exposition that it feels as if nothing is happening plot-wise. And considering the film’s 148 minute running time, you’ll likely feel like you’re forcing yourself through the process. Second, the emotional stakes and feels of Spectre are entirely superficial. Don’t be fooled, there will be a few scenes where you’re laughing, but in terms of getting choked up with tears, it didn’t work. Despite that, Spectre is still an ambitious and mostly fun addition to the long-running franchise, even if it can never reach the levels of Skyfal or Casino Royale. But hey, it’s still more believable than Roger Moore in Moonraker or Pierce Brosnan in Die Another Day. F.Y.I., be sure to trash your movie after it’s release and all the promotional touring is finished, Daniel Craig.