Dan's Review: "Spectre" a fitting end for Bond?
Daniel Craig in Spectre - © Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, sensuality and language.
Starring Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott, Monica Bellucci, Ralph Fiennes, Rory Kinnear, Jesper Christensen, Alessandro Cremona, Judi Dench.
Written by John Logan, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Jez Butterworth, based on James Bond by Ian Flemming.
Directed by Sam Mendes.
As the original super spy in modern fiction and film, there is no one cooler than Bond…James Bond. The most recent incarnation of the series starring Daniel Craig in the starring role has pumped new life into the franchise. That success culminated with 2012’s acclaimed Skyfall, directed by Sam Mendes, who returns to helm Spectre, in theaters this weekend.
The story picks up as Bond chases down a terrorist in Mexico City, where a big explosion gets the attention of M (Ralph Fiennes), who suspends 007 to avoid further embarrassment. Disobeying M’s orders, Bond gets a little help from his colleagues Miss Moneypenney (Naomie Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw) before heading out to Italy, where the terrorist group known as Spectre operates. Bond has a tryst with the wife of the terrorist he encountered in Mexico, while gathering information on the group’s origins. His travels lead him to an Austrian cabin, where he encounter Mr. White (Jesper Christiansen), the same villain Bond fought in The Quantum of Solace (2008) and Casino Royale (2006). We learn that White has been part of Spectre all along and that his position in the organization has been compromised. After Bond promises to protect White’s daughter from Spectre, 007 is given clues as to how he can find and eliminate Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) the head of the shadow organization. We also discover that Blofeld has a childhood connection with Bond, and that he also intends to create a hostile takeover of MI6 and eliminate M from picture.
Bond rescues White’s daughter, a psychologist named Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) and recruits her to join him in his quest to chase down Blofeld and expose Spectre. Along the way, Bond and Swann fall in love and meet the evil leader. After a daring escape from his lair in the middle of an African desert, Bond and Swann return to London where they hope to save MI6 from total collapse.
Spectre is one of the better Bond films in the franchise, much like Skyfall. Sam Mendes and his script-writing team have gone a long way to expose the super spy’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities. That can be a good thing, but also suggests that the Mendes/Craig story arc may have run its course. In fact, Mendes won’t direct any more 007 movies, and we may not see Craig in the title role again, either.
Spectre is a little more cerebral than a majority of Bond films, taking on several dialogue-heavy scenes that make the pacing a little slower than most action-laden movies in the franchise. That isn’t to say that Spectre is short on action. On the contrary, there are substantial fights, shootouts, chases and daring escapes that rival any spy thriller – only there’s a little more substance to go along with it.
The Craig/Bond series has also accomplished a rare continuity between films, unheard of in other 007 castings (Connery, Lazenby, Moore, Dalton and Brosnan Bond films almost never acknowledged previous stories).
Craig is better than ever as the heroic and roguish 007, and is supported by a top-notch cast, including Fiennes, Harris, Whishaw, Seydoux and Waltz.
Spectre may be the perfect ending to the Daniel Craig/007 reboot. It may also prove the idea that it’s a good idea to quit while you’re ahead and let someone else take a shot at James Bond.