Kyle J. Steenblik

Spectre is an Overly Long, Convoluted, and Disappointing Bond Film

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Directed by: Sam Mendes
Screenplay by: John Logan, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Jez Butterworth
Story by: John Logan, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade
Based on James Bond by Ian Fleming
Starring: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott, Monica Bellucci, Ralph Fiennes
Running time 148 minutes
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, sensuality and language

3 stars out of 5

A cryptic message from the past sends James Bond on a rogue mission to Mexico City and eventually Rome, where he meets Lucia Sciarra (Monica Bellucci), the beautiful and forbidden widow of an infamous criminal. Bond infiltrates a secret meeting and uncovers the existence of the sinister organisation known as Spectre.
Meanwhile back in London, Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott), the new head of the Centre for National Security, questions Bond’s actions and challenges the relevance of MI6, led by M (Ralph Fiennes). Bond covertly enlists Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw) to help him seek out Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), the daughter of his old nemesis Mr White (Jesper Christensen), who may hold the clue to untangling the web of Spectre. As the daughter of an assassin, she understands Bond in a way most others cannot.
As Bond ventures towards the heart of Spectre, he learns of a chilling connection between himself and the enemy he seeks, played by Christoph Waltz. – Courtesy Sony Pictures Entertainment 

As I watched the latest film in one of my favorite franchises, I could not help but think that one must have an encyclopedic knowledge of Bond history to fully appreciate the nuance that was hurled at the screen with all the subtlety of a trivial pursuit tournament. Entirely too reliant on the recent history developed in the recently rebooted films the albatross of history kept the film grounded. Beyond the top-heavy feel, the film often sacrificed coherent exposition for flashy—admittedly entertaining—action sequences. I also found the number of newly introduces, and quickly dismissed characters distracting. By the time I understood who this person was, they vanished forever, just when they were starting to become interesting a new dynamic is introduced and we have to watch Bond quickly develop another relationship. You may ask why this is frustrating, and I may ask why you would ask, but then I would say—because, halting the progression of the narrative to allow two characters be introduced and developed in a film that is nearly two and a half hours and slowly paced is horribly frustrating. The point here, if I can remember, is that if I had not been taking notes, I might have been horribly confused, instead of mildly confused. Additionally, to top it all off, the film begins with what may be the worst opening sequence, and theme song, to any bond film; yes, it is worse than Tom Jones’ Thunderball. For the record I like Sam Smith’s song, it is just abysmal as a theme song. These things kept this from being a great Bond film, or even a great film, while I enjoyed the film, I cannot honestly say I will be returning to this film anytime soon.

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