MGM and Sony have a big responsibility when it comes to representing one of cinemas greatest characters, James Bond. The 007 series is one of the longest running film franchises of all time that manages to draw major crowds and connect with every generation. For a character that has been around the sixties, he manages to be the envy of every guy because he is living the lifestyle that everyone else wants to live; cool, suave, smart, and a strong fighter. What also draws people into the seemingly never-ending spy series are it’s well-staged action scenes, exotic locations, and a formula that most people agree is fun to watch even if it does get a little old.
Since Dr. No, the formula for the typical James Bond movie followed as in an opening attack, bond investigating, finding a girl with information, going somewhere, fight, investigate some more, go to another location, find a villain, hear his plan, get tortured, escape, battle villain, kiss the girl, and then the credits roll. Since Casino Royale, the bond movies have taken a different direction and up to Skyfall, have become bigger and have given us more of an unpredictable 007. Spectre tries to go back to it’s original formula.
Following the events of Skyfall, Bond (played by Daniel Craig) makes his way to Mexico City where he finds, and through a helicopter flight, kills Marco Sciarra, an assassin with a unique ring that has an octopus symbol on it. His intention was to fulfill the last wish of the previous Q (played by Judi Dench) who had asked him to kill the man and to travel to Rome to get further answers from the attack of the previous movies. Due to the Mexico City incident being unofficial, the current M (played by Ralph Fiennes) suspends him from field work until further notice.
As M is busy trying to deal with MI6’s merge with the Joint Intelligence service that wants to end the 00 program, Bond defies his suspension to go to Rome. Here he finds Sciarra’s widow where she tells him about the criminal organization Spectre. He goes to a secret meting only to called out by name by the leader, Franz Oberhauser (played by Christoph Waltz). He escapes and gains information that leads him to Mr. White (from Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace). He’s told more about Spectre and to protect his daughter, Dr. Madeleine Swann (played by Léa Seydoux).
Even with high profile director Sam Mendes returning to the director’s chair, Spectre had to follow Skyfall, which is debatably the best Bond movie. It seems that Mendes wanted to return to the roots of what made the 007 movies popular by brings back the memorable tropes like the gadgets, the fight with one strong guy, and even the world domination plot. I admire it for trying to do so, as some of the new additions work while some aren’t as new they want to be. The movie is still entertaining with these tropes, but I would have liked further spins on these classic ideas.
Daniel Craig still makes for a good Bond, staying a suave as 007 should be while allowing himself to remain rough. Christoph Waltz is a lot of fun as our new villain, and everyone else clearly knows their in a bond movie. Like before, Spectre has plenty of good action scenes (though it may have pulled it’s best one too soon with the opening scene in Mexico City), though perhaps they could have cut out a few more scenes as this definitely felt too long. It doesn’t need a Lord of the Rings length to be epic, it just needs to be a fun spy movie to be epic.
I’ll give this four Jaguar C-X75’s out of five. Spectre could have used newer ideas to the James Bond legacy, but they tried their hardest to give us something entertaining. It’s far from turning me away, but maybe we need to bring in a new director to give us something different for the next one. If you see Spectre knowing it’s just a spy movie, you’ll defiantly be pleased.