Perhaps the last Daniel Craig James Bond movie (maybe). How good was Spectre?
Overall, it was far better than Quantum of Solace and a little better than Skyfall. It doesn’t come close to Casino Royale, but that’s honestly one of the best action movies ever made, so I don’t expect any James Bond movie to surpass Casino Royale any time soon.
There are some spoilers below but I’ll keep them as minor as I can.
What I Liked
1. Both Bond girls were actually attractive. Just about all of the Craig Bond movies have been sorely lacking in this area (reflective of our new politically correct society), and it was nice to see a Bond movie where both Bond girls are women I’d actually enjoy having sex with.
There was a lot of hubub about Monica Bellucci being 50 years old in this movie. As I correctly predicted many years ago, you’re going to see more and more hot women in movies who are not only over 40, but over 50, and in a few years, over 60. Women (and men) are looking younger and younger into more advanced ages.
And yeah, Monica Bellucci is still super hot. Italian women are so damn sexy.
The other Bond girl, Léa Seydoux, wasn’t amazing but still very cute. I also liked how they kept her language consistent in the film; when she gets drunk and talks to herself she speaks in her native tongue, not English. I love it when movies are real-life accurate like this.
2. The entire movie, from start to finish, is permeated with a tense, threatening mood. You can feel the tension at all times. At least I did. This is hard to do. Great stuff.
3. The music and cinematography were absolutely fantastic. Even a car chase which normally would have been boring was amped up to “good” because of great music and astounding cinematography. This is one of Sam Mendes’ strengths, and it shows here just as well as it showed in Skyfall.
4. Great villain, as I knew Christoph Waltz would be. I do not like how easily he was defeated at the very end, but I do like that he didn’t die, leaving him to be the antagonist in a future film.
One of the things that made the Connery films so good is that there was a consistent antagonist through the films. No other Bond has had this. Hopefully this will change.
Bautista was also really good as the “big super strong guy.” (I’m glad he didn’t talk.) Craig has never had an enemy like this, but past Bonds have. Seeing the battles between these two was reminiscent of past Bond villains like Jaws and Oddjob. The train fight in particular was great, and nostalgic.
5. I’m usually bored during the opening “sexy and artistic” title sequences of Bond movies, but for the first time I really liked the title sequence of this film. Dark and with strong fantasy elements. It was awesome.
What I Didn’t Like
There were only two things wrong with this film, but they’re both huge.
1. Bond’s new happy attitude. What the hell? No, no, no. Daniel Craig is good, as always. Yet his strength is that his Bond character is a near-emotionless asshole. I like that. In this movie, that Bond is gone. He was more like Roger Moore. He was smiling almost the entire time, joking around, being nice to everyone…WTF?
Where’s the dark, brooding asshole Craig Bond? Bring that guy back! If I wanted to see a happy, smartass bond, I’d go watch one of the Roger Moore movies (which I also loved, but for different reasons).
Granted, there are one or two scenes where the old Craig Bond resurfaces. The most poignant scene in the movie, at least for me, was when he casually tosses a particular video tape aside. Watch for this scene. It says so much about the character.
I just wish Spectre had more of this.
2. The staple of Craig Bond films is that they’re more gritty and realistic. In this movie, they suddenly throw Craig Bond into the non-realistic fantasy world that the Connery and Moore Bonds used to inhabit.
Realistic or fantasy, both are good. But dammit, you need to pick one and stick with it. Seeing Daniel Craig in these crazy scenarios just didn’t make any sense. It didn’t match any of the other Craig films.
I counted five times in the movie where Bond should have died, and instead escaped via some impossible scenario. I’m accustomed to having to shut off my brain when trying to enjoy an action film, but the point of the Craig Bond films is that you don’t have to do that. They really screwed this up, and I think that aspect is the main reason Spectre isn’t getting glowing reviews.
3. Bond tries to retire. With a girl. Again.
C’mon guys. Really?
He’s tried that twice before (once as Daniel Craig!), and both times it didn’t work out well. I guess Bond doesn’t learn. (Like most men.)
On the overall, Spectre is a good movie and I recommend it. It’s almost a shame that Casino Royale was so good; it actually reduces the perceived quality of all subsequent Bond films.
There’s a lot of talk about Idris Elba being the next bond. I’m ambivalent about this. Elba is amazing and he’s one of the few actors that has a strong Alpha Male 2.0 vibe to his performances. I’m sure he would make a good Bond and I’d probably like him.
At the same time, I’m getting really tired of Hollywood changing the race or gender of iconic, well-known characters just to show how progressive we all are. Instead of screwing around with Bond, why don’t you guys just start a new, well-done spy series with a black lead? I would love that and would pay to see every one of those movies.
I guess time will tell.