SPECTRE Review

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To say that Bond fans have been patiently waiting for EON Productions to regain the rights to SPECTRE would be an understatement. The nefarious rival organization hasn’t been seen on film since 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever over 44 years ago. So expectations are high when it was announced earlier this year that the title of Bond 24 would be SPECTRE. But does SPECTRE live up to the enormous expectations or do they fall short?

Unfortunately, while SPECTRE is an entertaining film, it doesn’t come close to 2012’s much stronger Skyfall. It feels both bloated and deflated as the film tries to pull on nostalgic strings by calling upon James Bond material that’s decades old.

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SPECTRE follows James Bond as he goes on a mission to uncover the secret behind the terrorist organization known as SPECTRE. Meanwhile, M battles political powers that are set on shutting down the “double-0” program in favor of a smart intelligence collective that uses drones and surveillance.

The problem with SPECTRE lies with the recycled James Bond tropes from the Sean Connery days. Daniel Craig’s Bond films were primarily known for his breath of fresh air, rougher-edged Bond. It was more serious and less hokey than his predecessors’ films. Yet instead of creating something fresh with the SPECTRE material, the filmmakers decided to create a film that feels very much like an outdated film. It’s a cut-and-paste from days gone by. It’s an odd decision considering how well received the prior films were – sans Quantum of Solace.

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Despite all that, the combination of Sam Mendes and Daniel Craig continues to impress. Mendes’ skill in the director’s chair brings forth elegance to the gritty tone of Daniel Craig’s Bond. Similarly, Craig continues his fine take on the suave and debonair superspy, James Bond. If this is indeed his last film as James Bond, then revel in the fact that Craig single-handedly saved the franchise and has left it in a far better state than when he found it.

French bombshell Léa Seydoux also did an excellent job as the strong female counterpart to Bond, but the romantic chemistry between the two just isn’t there. Dave Bautista doesn’t get to show off his acting skills as he did in Guardians of the Galaxy, but he does provide Bond fans with another memorable silent henchmen character, right alongside Jaws and Oddjob. Ben Whishaw, Ralph Fiennes, and Naomie Harris all provide solid performances as Q, M, and Moneypenny, respectively.

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The eccentric Waltz has the making to become a memorable villain in the Bond universe, but he’s sadly underused here. Although the film requires Waltz to stay in the shadows as Bond searches for him, there aren’t a lot of scenes with him. It’s a pity since his scenes are the most engaging parts of the film.

Sadly, Andrew Scott and Monica Bellucci’s talents are also wasted in minor roles here as they’re only in the film to move the plot along. Scott, whose villainous talents were previously seen in BBC’s “Sherlock,” amounts to nothing but a blip in the film and that’s a damn shame. Bellucci, who had the responsibility of becoming the oldest Bond girl ever, was only in the film for a short amount of time.

Overall, SPECTRE is a missed opportunity to do something bold with the terrorist organization. It’s a film that’s so thinly sketched that it makes you wonder whether the SPECTRE aspect was put in there as an afterthought. SPECTRE would’ve benefitted greatly from a shorter runtime and a tighter script. The film does, however, set up some big things between Bond, MI6, and SPECTRE. I just wish SPECTRE was a bigger and smarter setup to the next wave of Bond films.

Rating: 3.5/5 atoms
NR 3_5 Atoms - B-

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