Category Archives: Spy

“Wonder Woman” Movie Review

Sometimes, movies can teach its audience a valuable lesson. The lesson I took away from this one? Never question a woman when she has an opinion in the war room. Ever. This historical superhero adventure released worldwide on June 2nd, 2017, grossing over $220 million in the opening weekend. It took years for the character to make her onscreen debut, with Joss Whedon making attempts at it in the late 1990’s. Under the reigns of Monster director Patty Jenkins, Warner Bros. finally gave her a solo film this year. The titular character from DC Comics, played by Gal Gadot, lives on her paradise island of Themiscyra with her fellow female Amazon warriors. When American pilot Steve Trevor lands on their doorstep, Princess Diana is swept up into the War to End All Wars. Now, she must find the God of War Ares, who she believes is causing the conflict, and save humanity from tearing itself apart. Going into Wonder Woman, there was a certain level of expectations I had set. In the past, I was probably way too forgiving to Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was a massive disappointment. But listening to the initial critical reactions, I was wondering if it would truly be the first great movie of the DC Extended Universe. Well, I’m very happy to report that that is the case. The biggest thing at the forefront of this film is the character interactions, particularly between Steve Trevor and Diana. And that is arguably the strongest aspect of the entire movie. Gal Gadot is practically flawless as the main hero, showing off all the charisma and charm of any cinematic male superhero you could think of. Her gradual discovery of mankind’s capability for violence and compassion gives her a genuine arc, rather than some god who is perfect at everything. Chris Pine is a magnificently funny counterpart to her in both essence and philosophy. While Diana believes strongly in the inherent goodness of man, Trevor is more world-weary and idealistic. Their back-and-forth banter is written sharply. In fact, the biggest thing distinguishing this film from its predecessors is just how funny it is. Previously, both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman were total gloom-fests and Suicide Squad has some trouble finding its identity with a lack of balance. But Wonder Woman emerges with zero shame in its protagonist, highlighting much of the absurdity in a comical light. Is it cheesy and cliched sometimes? Yes, it is. You’ll likely hear this in many other reviews, but this charm is reminiscent of Christopher Reeve’s Superman from 1978, the granddaddy of all modern superhero films, regardless of license. The period setting and “God-is-a-fish-out-of-water” premise are also familiar with 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor. To be clear, Wonder Woman is better and funnier than either of those two, but seeing that kind of influence is just so amusing. The funniest segment comes in the portion set in London when they come to visit higher-ups. Not only does Lucy Davis nail the role of Steve Trevor’s secretary, but there was a scene when Diana saved Trevor from thugs in an alleyway. Yet again, that reminded me of Richard Donner’s classic. The main villains were a mixed bag for me. Two of them were actually interesting and it was rather nice to watch their plans unfold. However, I felt that the reveal of Ares in the final act was ruined by a bit of miscasting and predictability. And like the previous installments of the DC Extended Universe, as well as arguably Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Wonder Woman‘s final battle is a CGI-heavy festival of explosions and fantasy elements. It wasn’t necessarily a mess, it was relatively easy to follow but felt drawn-out. Speaking of action scenes, when they do happen in the movie, they are absolutely riveting to behold. The greatest and by far most memorable sequence in the entire movie is when our heroes are trying to help their comrades survive a bit of trench warfare. Diana brings out her outfit, shield and God-Killer sword, and walks into No Man’s Land determined to bring down the Kaiser’s men. In some ways, this was the centerpiece of the film, elevated by Martin Walsh’s fast-paced editing and Rupert Gregson-Williams’ pulsating orchestral score. Mixing the titular character’s electric guitar-driven theme song from Batman v Superman with swelling strings and horns is an interesting play. Also worth noting, pop artists Sia and Labrinth wrote an original song for the soundtrack called “To Be Human,” which plays as the credits begin to role. Fans should hold out to listen to a rather inspirational song. Just don’t expect any post-credits scenes of any kind while you’re at it. Ultimately, this movie has a message. A very important and relevant message that all of mankind, let alone comic book fans, need to be reminded of. As most of the film is told through the eyes of Diana/Wonder Woman, we see the human world as she does: grimy, desperate, washed away, and on the brink of self-destruction. But she also sees that as deeply flawed as it may be, and as evil the atrocities it can commit throughout history, humanity is still worth saving from the darkness. Incredibly challenging and uplifting, this message is the kind of optimism and hope our world desperately needs right now. My faith in humanity has been what it’s always been, but movies like this remind me of something that seems impossible to conceive of, yet easy to grasp. That, or I have no idea what the hell I’m actually talking about. With thrilling action, tons of heart, great acting, and clever homages to the original films of the genre, Wonder Woman is a love letter to female empowerment and a celebration of man’s worth for salvation. Go see this movie and support it actively. And then buy it on Blu-Ray. That’s what I’m doing next.

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“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” Movie Review

Fan expectations, just like rebellions, are built on hope. This epic space opera opened to $323 million worldwide in the first 5 days. I have to assume that there are people who may think this the next film in the Star Wars saga; it’s not. This is the first of an Anthology series, where every other year there will be a completely different spin-off story set in the same universe as the titular franchise. This one takes place right before the events of A New Hope and follows Jyn Erso, an outsider who has been on her own for much of her life. Long story short, the Galactic Empire is building a brand new superweapon known as the Death Star, and a test for its effectiveness is eminent. The Rebel Alliance recruits Erso to help them find a way to stop it and get valuable information on how they could potentially counter it. I’m keeping it kind of vague for some people who wish to go into the movie completely cold and might not even know what I’m talking about. After giving us the modern incarnation of Godzilla 2 years ago, Gareth Edwards returns to the director’s chair in his third theatrical effort to date. And he does his best to make this film as different from the previous entries as possible. From the very beginning, there is no opening crawl with John Williams’ iconic score. Instead, an intense cold opener immediately sets the tone of the rest of the story. If they did have an opening crawl, it would have probably just recited the plot of the background novel, Catalyst, which is not required reading in case you’re wondering. The second in a string of strong female protagonists from the Walt Disney-owned franchise, Felicity Jones is excellent in the lead role. She puts a hard shell above the surface, but underneath is a vulnerable young woman who is trying to find her place in the galaxy; a universal theme in the series. The standout character of the movie isn’t human, nor even alien; it’s Alan Tudyk as the droid K2SO. He brought the right amount of humor into the dark story without compromising the flow. He was so hysterical, everyone in the theater was dying laughing at everything that he said. I love me some sarcastic, smart-ass characters. Martial arts superstar Donnie Yen as Chirrut Imwe kicked complete ass as a blind Force-sing monk. His dialogue and nature brought a newly found depth to already existing lore. His relationship with the mercenary Baze Malbus, played superbly by Jiang Wen, is one of the most interesting and appealing in the movie. Now let’s touch on the villain. If you went to this movie because Darth Vader is in it, you probably going to be disappointed because he only appears in about 3 scenes total. He’s still badass, and for the first time, it becomes apparent that this guy is legit scary. The REAL villain is Orson Krennic, played marvelously by Ben Mendohlson. He’s obsessive, brilliant, cruel, and yet in some way sympathetic. In fact, the thing this movie does best is showing the uglier, grayer side of warfare. It’s not just good guys are trying to take out bad guys. Even though there’s still a dynamic of good vs evil, the Rebel Alliance make a few decisions in the story that could be considered immoral. But on both sides, there are people who genuinely believe that they’re doing what’s best for the future of the galaxy. Forrest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera proves as much. Even though he’s not in the movie much, his actions are extreme but you understand where his motivations come from. But the pacing in the first half of the movie drags on for a bit. It spends a lot of time introducing new characters and locations quickly, resulting in the story slowing down. However, I can’t judge whether or not 133 minutes was long enough or too short for this to happen. Could they have shaved off or added several minutes? That’s entirely your opinion. However, in moving on, we get to the third act, the final battle; it’s epic. That’s the only word I can use to accurately describe the entirety of the final 45-50 minutes of the film. It’s at that point the writers decided to really put the “Wars” in Star Wars. It’s gritty, it’s harsh, it’s explosive, there are no lightsabers clashing. Of all the entries in the series, Rogue One is probably the most ground and violent when it comes to action, with more onscreen deaths than most of the original trilogy. Edwards shows his affinity for large-scale filmmaking with Greig Fraser’s swooping cinematography of the land battles and space combat. It’s also worth noting that a couple characters from the original trilogy were brought back with extensive CGI. I won’t say which characters, but I could tell they needed some work from ILM. Admittedly, though, I adjusted to them after a while and didn’t have much of a problem. And with series regular John Williams sitting this one out, Michael Giacchino steps in to score the soundtrack- and I can’t think of a better composer they could have gotten for the job. Utilizing familiar themes while toying with brand new ones, each track matches perfectly with the scene in question. It brings out all the emotion and excitement we can expect from a Star Wars movie at this point. Even though the first act was slow, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a fantastic action movie with enough balance of spectacle and heart to warrant the Star Wars logo. Delivering impactful mature themes along with one of the most exciting and satisfying final acts for any movie I’ve seen recently, there’s a bright future ahead for this franchise. I’m now more excited than ever for the Han Solo prequel film in 2018. Yes, I’m excited for a Star Wars prequel. Crazy.

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“Allied” Movie Review

After saving the world from a zombie outbreak, Lt. Aldo Raine is back to kill some Nazis… well not quite. Visionary Robert Zemeckis’ World War II romantic spy thriller opened on Black Friday of 2016, which may or may not compromise its potential commercial success in the long run. Set on the backdrop of the 1940’s, Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard play two spies at the height of tensions in the Second World War. At first, Max and Marise pretend to be married, but after falling in love, they actually become husband and wife. Max is then informed by his superiors that  his wife might be a German spy. If she’s innocent, they will forget it ever happened. But if their suspicions are true, then Max has to kill her to prove his loyalty to the Allies. But that doesn’t happen until at least halfway through the movie. The first half of Allied focuses on their romance and falling in love. That’s all fine and dandy, I don’t have a problem with that. But the fact that the film was primarily marketed as an intense spy thriller in World War II made the romantic aspect of the plot somewhat jarring at first. Thankfully, the two leads share great chemistry throughout the entirety of the film. Marion Cotillard, in particular, shines as the mysterious wife. She has the build and look of a woman who belongs in a period piece, and the French actress has yet to give a dull performance in her career. Costar Brad Pitt is fine as the conflicted main protagonist. Though if we’re being honest, it felt as if he was phoning it in for a majority of the time. They could have cast a myriad of other actors for the role, and I don’t think it would have been worse for the wear. And of course, this being a Robert Zemeckis production, the film looks gorgeous for all of its 124 minute-long runtime. Whether it’s an action set piece or a quieter dramatic moment, the visuals are a joy to look at. The cinematography by Don Burgess brings out vibrant colors that delightfully contrast the bleak reality of World War II. The story also reminded me of the Humphrey Bogart classic, Casablanca. A North American man falls for a young woman who he probably shouldn’t care about, and originates from the opposite side of the world in the middle of a bloody World War. But unlike that 1940’s masterpiece, Allied suffers from very uneven pacing. The script penned by Steve Knight makes various jumps forward in time to signify the relationship between Max and Marise. But in the latter half of the movie, when Max is investigating his wife, it suddenly begins grinding over a single weekend. This slower burn feels appropriate for the thriller aspect of the story, but didn’t flow well with the previous hour. But I will say that the thriller/action sequences are quite exciting when they happen. The film utilizes its R-rating to showcase gushes of blood from gunfights and intense close quarters combat. One of the first scenes involves Max ambushing a Nazi officer by choking him to death. The shock and sudden nature caused me to jump from my seat in the movie theatre, a litmus test to see if a thriller is effective on me. The supporting cast includes character actors like Jared Harris, Lizz Caplan, August Diehl, Anton Lesser, and Mathew Goode as players in this figurative game of chess between an American soldier and his wife who could possibly be a traitor. It’s a simple and interesting premise, just slightly mis-marketed for the actual content. Allied is an enjoyable, yet uneven spy thriller to wedge out in the crowded and overly popular canvas of World War II. Robert Zemeckis’ trademark visual style and the performances help to  elevate the film, but not enough to its potential as a wartime epic. It is a fun date movie to see with your boyfriend or girlfriend over the weekend matinee. That is, of course, assuming that neither of you are sent to the hospital thanks to the hell that is Black Friday.

“The Accountant” Movie Review

A movie about a man who use mathematics to be a badass? I’m in. This action thriller from Warrior director Gavin O’Connor opened on October 14th, 2016, grossing about $58 million in the first two weeks of its theatrical run. We follow an autistic man named Christian Wolff, who is a socially awkward but genius C.P.A. accountant. He moonlights by cooking the books for some dangerous criminal organizations and even has a few skills at killing people. His actions attract the attention of many interested parties, including the U.S. Treasury who are investigating his shady activities. Getting it right out of the way, Ben Affleck completely steals it as The Accountant. We’ve seen him as a great actor before, but this year, in particular, shows just how badass he has become at this point in his career, with his turn as Batman being the best part of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. For a character who is so soft-spoken and doesn’t have many lines of dialogue, it’s so compelling to see what he’ll do next. Also, the supporting cast, which includes Anna Kendrick as a nosy in-house accountant, J.K. Simmons and Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Treasury director and agent, Jon Bernthal as an elusive hitman, and John Lithgow as a shrewd robotic company CEO, was really good as well. Growing up, I didn’t really like math because only a small percentage of it seemed like it would remain relevant in my life as a grown up. But since then, I’ve come to appreciate it in situation where it seems necessary. One of the most fun aspects of this film, for me anyway, was that I understood most of the lingo Affleck and Kendrick use to track the financial discrepancies of the company. But because the cast is relatively big, it’s often hard to determine just what the movie is really about. Is it about Christian Wolff trying to find out who embezzled all the money from this huge robotics corporation? Is it about the U.S. Treasury investigating the identity of the titular protagonist? Is it about Anna Kendrick’s Dana Cummings figuring out her feelings for this accountant? That’s not to say any of these storylines are irrelevant overall. It’s just saying that the movie can be described in one word as tangled, given the condensed running time of 2 hours and 8 minutes. If they could have found a way to rework everything to flow nicely and seamlessly, I don’t think that the quality of the movie would have been hurt. And when the plot slows down, I really mean it slows down to a near-halt. J.K. Simmons, who is still right for the role of Director Raymond King, spends a good chunk of his screen-time explaining to Addai-Johnson’s character exactly what The Accountant has done that makes him so dangerous. I would have preferred to see the cliff notes of these actions in brief snippets of flashbacks or simple context rather than them sitting down to explain it all in great detail. However, in moving on, it’s in the latter half of the movie when you really see what Christian Wolff is capable of. We are talking when the shit goes down, it GOES down. Watching him square off against Jon Bernthal in the final fight was especially intense, matched by the pitch-perfect sound design and editing by Richard Pearson. You can hear everything from the bullets whizzing by the mercenaries’ heads to the crunching of shattered glass beneath their feet. But it’s not just military-grade sharpshooting Wolff is good at; he’s perfectly adept at hand-to-hand combat. The filmmakers utilized a distinct Indonesian martial arts fighting style called Pencak Silat. The incredible cinematography by Seamus McGarvey, previously nominated for Oscars in the films Atonement and Anna Karenina, features up-close and claustrophobic shots contrasted by long range shoots, allowing for the fights to feel more contemplative. And as much as I could go on about the technicality and impressive gun battles that occur, I absolutely love the way this movie portrayed autism. It manages to show the setbacks of such a neuro-developmental disorder while still remaining respectful to audience members who have been actually diagnosed with it. Earlier in the year, Ben Affleck gave us a memorable spin on the iconic superhero Batman, who is appealing to almost anyone. Yet here, he gives autistic kids their own custom superhero to look up to. Painful social interaction? Check. Reciting the nursery rhyme of Solomon Grundy? Check. Complex math problems solved within minutes of screen-time? Double Check. Christian Wolff is such an interesting new character, with the most memorable line of dialogue in the movie when he says, “I have difficulty socializing with people, even though I want to.” Even if you don’t have autism, you will at least find that piece of written dialogue relatable if you’ve ever had a tough time being social. In the end, The Accountant is a solidly entertaining thriller in the midst of Oscar season. It makes up a somewhat messy plot with intense action sequences, intelligently written character interactions, and by far the most realistic on-screen portrayal of autism to ever be put into silver screen form. There’s also some potential to pimp a new cinematic franchise. (If done correctly) It makes math cool to watch. What more could you ask for?

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“The Nice Guys” Movie Review

Russel Crowe and Ryan Gosling are the two coolest actors in Hollywood at the moment. That’s what we take away from this movie. This neo-noir mystery buddy comedy by director Shane Black released on May 20th, 2016, having yet to exceed it’s budget of $50 million at the box office. Harkening back to buddy comedies from the 1970’s, the story follows Holland March, a down-on-his-luck private investigator, and enforcer-for-hire Jack Healy, as their paths cross wires over a case regarding a missing girl named Amelia. Their road begins at the apparent suicide of fading pornography star, Misty Mountains, and escalates into a conspiracy involving the higher powers of the government. It serves as an interesting commentary on the growth of the porn industry during the 70’s, and makes notion of the country’s increasing apathy for the polluted environment. At one point, “Healy says “Maybe the birds aren’t able to breathe. And we’re left here to choke.” Front and center of this film are Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, whose chemistry is almost unbelievable. They work very well together, constantly bouncing off one another with ease. It may be too early to tell, but I’ll wager that at least one of them is going to get a nomination come award season. But the surprising standout has to go to Angourie Rice, who plays Ryan Gosling’s daughter. She wasn’t annoying, she was useful, she was funny, and managed to steal the show from two veteran Hollywood actors. That says something. The movie doesn’t rely on action scenes, but when there are, they’re done very well. The well-paced editing and superb sound design make it feel like the audience is actually there in the firefight. It’s made all the more enjoyable by the banter between Healy and March, and one particular, Boba Fett-like character that was both awesome and creepy at the same time. He’s not in the movie for long, but Matt Bomer did a tremendous job as this assassin. The whole supporting cast, including Kim Basinger, Keith David, Margaret Qualley, and Beau Knapp, are terrific in their respective roles for that matter. And the cinematography by Philippe Rousselot is great as well. It makes The Nice Guys look more colorful, and allows for the scope of the city of Los Angeles to spread its wings. Long tracking shots, natural lighting, and zooming close-ups establish the atmosphere and tone of the 1970’s, best exemplified through the soundtrack by David Buckley and John Ottman. I really liked how the dialogue was well-written, providing contrast for Healy and March. While Healy is the calmer one with good insight, March is vulgar and is the source of much physical comedy. There weren’t any scenes that had my stomach hurting from uncontrollable laughter, but I consistently chuckled throughout. With that, I can confidently say that The Nice Guys is one of the better movies I’ve seen in 2016 thus far. I loved the main characters, I loved the chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, and how well-written and believable the dialogue seemed. I hope this does for budddy comedies of a bygone era what the Hateful Eight has done for westerns.

“Civil War” Spoilers Discussion

Yep. There was enough happening in the story of Captain America: Civil War for me to get on my computer and ramble on my thoughts. Fair warning, if you haven’t seen Civil War yet, for all intents and purposes, go watch it so I don’t have to be the asshole who ruined it for you. Now what I like about the Russo brothers is how they’re able to make their action sequences really gritty and intense. This is exemplified in the second scene when the Avengers go to Lagos to stop Crossbones and his team of terrorists from acquiring a chemical sample. When Scarlet Witch tries to prevent his suicidal explosion, she lifts him up in the air, accidentally blowing up a building and some of its inhabitants. This reaches word to Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, U.S. Secretary of State, and he demands that the Avengers sign what’s known as the Sokovia Accords. We already know why Iron Man is pro-registration, but Captain America makes the argument, “Governments are by agendas, agendas that change. What if there’s a place they send us that we don’t want to go? What if there’s a place we should go they don’t send us?” Then all of a sudden, Agent Peggy Carter, Steve Roger’s love interest from World War II, passes away in her sleep. At her funeral, her niece Sharon Carter talks about how her aunt moved through a not-so-progressive world. She says, “Compromise what you can and what you will, if you can’t, don’t. At that point, it’s your responsibility to tell the other person ‘no; you move.'” It really hits Rogers, because he realizes that he can’t budge or move in this situation. As I said in my spoiler-free review, the relationship between Captain America and Bucky Barnes is at the forefront. You feel for Barnes, as he was brainwashed by H.Y.D.R.A. and is now still messed up in the head, similar to the tragic Jessica Jones. Black Panther is given essentially an origin story, as his father, King T’Chaka of Wakanda, is murdered, and the Winter Soldier is framed for it. He’s not messing around, as he professes that he’ll kill Barnes himself. And then the greatest superhero throwdown in movie history happens at the airport in Germany. This is the time when both Ant Man and Spider Man are given a chance to shine. And I can’t stress enough how great Tom Holland is, almost as if he was born for the role. I would also call Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Heath Ledger as the Joker, Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool, and Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. I still love Tobey Maguire and the cartoons, but this version embodied everything that I love about the character of Peter Parker. Ant Man also was able to transform into Giant Man, which was so funny to watch. He would pick up other heroes and throw them around like little toys. I will say Scarlet Witch was O.P. as FUUUCCKKKK!!!!!! At what point in the movie did she show off her immense power, even toppling the Vision. Needless to say, I was thoroughly entertained by this airport battle. And The Vision, while cradling Scarlet Witch (because he wants to hit that), he accidentally hits War Machine and paralyzes him. But no moment made me go “HOLY SHIT” more than when Winter Soldier and Captain America arrived at the Siberian H.Y.D.R.A. facility. Though the other Super Soldiers are quite irrelevant and useless, Iron Man arrives and says that he knows the truth and goes with them to meet Helmut Zemo. I would like to take this moment to refrain what I said in my review because I appreciate the tragedy of his character more than I gave credit. He kept listening to a voicemail message left by his wife, as it’s the only source of her memory he has left. Anyway, he turns on a computer, showing the car crash we saw at the beginning. Tony Stark says “I know that road. What is this?” Turns out Winter Soldier killed his parents, Cap knew  and kept it from him. You see, Tony Stark has never reconciled with his father, and thought his death was just a random happening. But now that he has someone to finally blame, he’s going to kill them. Eventually, Bucky’s robotic arm gets blasted off, Iron Man’s suit is jammed, and Cap leaves behind his shield as Tony’s father was the one who forged it. In the post-credit scene, Captain America and his supporters have taken asylum in Wakanda with Black Panther, and Winter Soldier decides to go into cryogenic sleep because he can’t trust his own brain. It’s also implied that Cap and Iron Man still have tension, but will respect each other from a safe distance. In the end, I believe Captain America: Civil War is one of the best films to come out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date. It was funny, intriguing, and bittersweet all at the same time, with the greatest Spider Man ever seen on the big screen. Hat’s off to you, Russo brothers. Good luck on Infinity War these next few years.

“Spectre” James Bond Movie Review

*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.