Review: Spectre Has The Pieces For A Good Movie But They Don’t Fit Together
Director: Sam Mendes
Screenwriter: John Logan (screenplay and story), Neal Purvis (screenplay and story), Robert Wade (screenplay and story), Jez Butterworth (screenplay), and Ian Fleming (characters)
Principal Cast: Daniel Craig, Chrisoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Naomi Harris, and Dave Bautista
Summary: A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.
I don’t know if I can consider myself a James Bond fan or not. I’ve always enjoyed the movies but I never really gotten into them all that much. I did enjoy Skyfall, though, so I was looking forward to Spectre. I’ve been a little worried because there have been some delays and the script leaking with the Sony hack earlier this year made it sound like there have been some serious problems. However, I’ve been trying to remain optimistic because of the great cast and director, even if having that many writing credits was making me nervous.
Spectre has all of the right pieces of a great movie but due to various different reasons, mostly story related, they don’t all fit.
This is one of those movies where my main issue comes down to a major spoiler because it was really the thing that broke the movie for me. I’ll save that spoiler for my last paragraph and I’ll make sure it’s properly labeled. There were a lot of parts of this movie that just didn’t feel that interesting to me. The opening scene in Mexico on the Day of the Dead is fairly interesting, and probably worth the price of admission, but everything after that just didn’t feel very interesting. It didn’t feel like the stakes were as high as they were in Skyfall. That made various chases and other moments just feel a little boring as they would go on and on without any real investment from me as an audience member. The problem is that Daniel Craig doesn’t look very invested, either, as he has been very vocal this entire press tour that he’s very done with this series.
He has some great backup though mostly in the form of his fellow MI6 employees. Eve Moneypenny (Naomi Harris), Q (Ben Whishaw), Tanner (Rory Kinnear) and the new M (Ralph Fiennes) are all great and extremely under utilized. I know that Bond is, as a franchise, much more of a “one man against the world” type of movie and not team based, but with a supporting cast that is that good I wish we could have more of them. The best part of the movie is when everyone needs to work together toward the end. Léa Seydoux is our main Bond girl and the main problem with her is that she looks like Bond’s daughter instead of his love interest. She is adamant that he isn’t going to touch her at first, which was refreshing, until they amazingly fall in love over shooting someone and then it’s just awkward. They have made a big deal about Monica Bellucci and being the first “over 50” Bond girl but she has maybe four minutes of total screen time. It was a wasted opportunity on behalf of the movie to not take advantage of such a great actress. The other wasted opportunity is Dave Bautista as a henchmen who also has very little to do and doesn’t take advantage of how intimidating he can be.
We’re going to have to get into spoilers now because this story beat was really the thing that broke the movie for me. I wasn’t hating it, and it was way too long, but it was this twist that just made no sense to me. So now we’re getting into major spoilers so if you don’t want to know the major twist of the movie skip this paragraph to my final thoughts. So, toward the end of the movie, we find out that Christoph Waltz’s villain Oberhauser is actually classic Bond villain Blofeld. He is the head of the organization spectre who has been behind all of the villains for the last four movies. He has been after Bond because his father took Bond in as a boy and Blofeld thought his father loved Bond more. That twist gave me a bit of a migraine because that makes no sense. This isn’t a Marvel movie where hints of this twist have been hiding in the background the entire time, the movie just made this up on the spot, and makes the movies a conspiracy against Bond himself. It makes it personal which is the plot for other movies. Bond is employed as a spy, it’s his job, and making all of this personal negates that entirely. Why does everything have to be connected? I’m so bored of conspiracy theories and personal vendettas that go back to Bond’s past. Why can’t he just go out on a mission and kill the bad guy because he’s a bad guy?
Spectre is not the worst movie I’ve seen this year but it might be the one that has let me down the most this year. I loved Skyfall and I thought we were finally going to get a Bond that goes out and does missions with gadgets and other silly things. However, Spectre doesn’t seem keen to have any fun along the way and it’s clunky story and pacing just make it fall so flat. Quantum of Solace had an excuse with the writers strike for being a hot mess; I don’t know what Spectre’s excuse is.