This is the 24th James Bond film and the fourth to feature Daniel Craig. I went in expecting a trainwreck because Craig has been very vocal about how he feels about playing Bond.
Interviewer: Can you imagine doing another Bond movie?
Craig: Now? I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists. … We’re done. All I want to do is move on. … If I did another Bond movie, it’d only be for the money.
So you can see how that might affect your view of this movie. Did this attitude affect the movie? Let’s see.
Daniel Craig returns as James Bond, Agent 007. He discovers that a criminal organization called Spectre has been behind his most recent adventures, led by the mysterious Christoph Waltz. Bond is supported by M (Ralph Fiennes), Q (Ben Whishaw), and Moneypenny (Naomie Harris). Before he reaches Spectre itself, he’s often confronted by their new muscle (Dave Bautista). He also encounters a few new Bond girls (Monica Bellucci and Lea Seydoux).
In terms of big picture stuff, the cinematography here is incredibly cool. Even uneventful scenes look beautiful. The movie opens with an incredible sequence in Mexico City that really sets a great tone for the film and culminates with an amazing helicopter scene.
The action in general is actually really stellar. Bautista delivers a great performance as the silent killer Mr. Hinx (though I don’t think he’s ever called that in the movie). There’s a fight scene in a train that is absolutely captivating. Most of the action scenes are great but the problem is the moments in between them. We’ll get to that.
As a larger big bad guy, we’ve got Christoph Waltz, playing a character we’ve seen him do before but he does it well. His performance was great but there were some story factors that undercut his performance, which again, we’ll get to.
What doesn’t work?
You can absolutely tell that Daniel Craig is over this. His energy is low and his dialogue is unengaging. The action scenes have a little more energy but it’s likely a stunt double that’s putting in that effort. The movie suffers a lot, where a younger actor might be “hungrier” and put in a little extra effort.
The strength is the villains here but the story doesn’t let them be the focus. Waltz only has a few scenes in the movie when he’s finally revealed (and those scenes are great) but he’s vastly underused. And Bautista absolutely dominates the scenes he’s in, but he doesn’t get a satisfying conclusion to his story, which leaves that arc a little underwhelming.
I also wasn’t a fan of the story arc with Lea Seydoux as the new “love interest.” They literally spend a day together and the movie tries to convince us that they’re destined to be together (I guess that could be a spoiler, but whatever). It just is not believable and she’s not charismatic or interesting enough for me to buy it.
The biggest problem is that the movie is painstakingly boring for big portions of the movie. The movie kicks off with a huge action scene and then it slams to a halt when it goes to the larger story. Another big action scene, then horribly boring investigation into some conspiracy. Skyfall had some slower moments, but the stakes felt higher and I felt invested. Here, it felt like it was retreaded material. I think Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation did this story better. Even Captain America: The Winter Soldier did a lot of these moments better. Spectre is the last one to the party and I think they’re a little too late.
Spectre has some great moments and overall looks amazing. When you step back and look at what is actually happening though, the story is uninteresting, cliche, and often boring. These big action scenes might trick you into thinking that this is a great movie, because those moments are stellar, but the actual skeleton of the movie is really weak. The strongest parts are Christoph Waltz and Dave Bautista but they are underused and you can tell that Daniel Craig doesn’t really care about stopping them. They could’ve trimmed some fat from this movie and cut out 15-20 minutes of boring secondary plots and it might’ve made this movie a little more engaging.