Sunday, November 8, 2015

Movie Review: "Spectre"

If Skyfall was the deconstruction of James Bond, Spectre is the reconstruction.  Daniel Craig has returned once more as 007, with Spectre marking his fourth (and potentially final) outing as the character.  In Spectre, Bond follows a cryptic message from his past, which leads him to the evil criminal organization known as SPECTRE.  After three films, this is the first of the Daniel Craig Bond films that feels more like the Sean Connery/Roger Moore-era Bond adventures, and that is a good thing.

Longtime Bond fans should know all about SPECTRE, who were the very same criminal organization that terrorized Bond for almost all of the Sean Connery films (save for Goldfinger).  Due to some issues involving legal rights, the filmmakers have not been able to use SPECTRE since the early-to-mid Seventies.  Ultimately, the rights were returned just a couple of years ago and now we have SPECTRE's triumphant return in a film that hits all of the beats one expects of a classic Bond adventure:  exotic locales, an imposing henchman, some sultry Bond girls with troubled pasts, cool gadgets, and a maniacal villain in the form of Christoph Waltz's Franz Oberhauser.  On top of all that, Spectre is chock full of great Bond moments.  From an opening action sequence that features one of the finest Bond fight scenes ever, to a Swiss Alps duel between Bond in a plane and the bad guys in SUVs, Spectre finally turns Daniel Craig's Bond into the superhero the character once was, and the 12-year-old inside of me loves it.  Of course, the single greatest element of Spectre is not necessarily it's throwback feel or the fact that it's the first Daniel Craig Bond that fully embraces the Bond mythos, but it's how this film effectively ties together all of Craig's Bond movies.

Featuring nods to the events of Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Skyfall, Spectre kind of feels like the end to the whole enchilada.  In some ways, that's good.  It has been rumored that this might be Daniel Craig's last Bond film, and if it is, then it is an amazing end to his tenure.  No other actor who has ever played Bond has had a run of films as strong as Craig's, and a large part of that is that all of these films have been direct sequels to the others.  None of the other Bond films ever really acknowledged any character growth or story progressions from one film to the next, but the Daniel Craig movies all have.  The Bond in Casino Royale was brash and impulsive.  The Bond in Quantum of Solace was moody and violet in response to Vesper Lynd's death.  As for Skyfall, Bond was tired and worn down, a relic searching for a purpose.  And Spectre finds Bond struggling with the repercussions of his past while finding his heart and soul once again.  By the time the credits roll on Spectre, you really feel as if a myth has been born and Bond is back in tip top shape, better than ever.

I give Spectre a 9 out of 10!

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