Spectrecular. Skyfall set the bar so high that people thought Mendes’ new installment to the Bond franchise was going to blow them away. Well get real. What you got from Spectre’s predecessor was something saturated with unusual darkness,richly created with emotion and insight. It went against the grain of typical bond as it traversed the deeply rooted insecurities and vulnerabilities of M and Bond and in great detail, their moralities and relevance. Skyfall indulged in the highly enigmatic Silva(Javier Bardem) and brought the final closing battle to the wintery tundra marshlands of Bond’s faded past. Skyfall, I repeat, is nothing like conventional Bond…in fact it is it’s devils advocate in all facets; You get the feeling that this was something special. I just spent so much time giving praise to Skyfall for a reason. And now I will give Spectre what is due.
I’m glad to know that more observed viewers and critics like myself have given Spectre reasonably good reviews. It is indeed tragic to hear so many of my friends lament the seemingly ‘base’ nature of the film,it’s mindless action and the lack of some deep perspective. Well get out of Plato’s cave. In case you didn’t know, that is how bond films (except Skyfall and arguably Casino Royale) work. It is action driven, cliche laden and quite frankly nothing that will make you sit pretty and think hard. Seriously, get real brah.
Spectre was awesome. Exhilirating. Beautiful. Scenic. Pulsating. It may not reach the skies, but it was quite the spectacle. Opening with Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Mexico, I would say this was my favourite Bond opening ever. With a consistent rasta drum beat to add to the fantastic splash of colour and festivity, Spectre stays true to its name. Ghostly and mysterious, 007 masquerades in a suave skeleton costume amongst the living dead. There is a foreboding sense of action kept bubbling beneath the haunting surrealism of the scene. If ever there was a more perfect opening; Alas, but there is none such to be found. Put it less dramatically, this was straight up dope. Bad-assery. Legendary.
After Sam Smith’s hugely romanticized bond theme, we get to the serious end of things. Bond receives a parcel containing a photograph that links him to his past. The ‘pale king’ is also revealed to be a recurring character in the franchise. And we get an interesting connection to the bond girl Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux). She holds her own pretty well with her confidence. I was pretty hyped about the lead up to the reveal of the film’s villain Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz). But his energy was underwhelming and quite lethargic. He was like a shadow of what he made himself to be; His slight gesticulations and erratic appearances just don’t do it for me. He only appears in indirect spots and seem only to taunt Bond with his tricks and set-ups. Ok so Christoph Waltz didn’t waltz the screen with his performance. What Spectre lacked in character development, it amped it up in the action department. From the helicopter tussle at the parade square to the fiery Grand Theft Auto-esque car chase scene to the air plane chase in snowy Austria, Spectre brought out the best in classic bond.
Apart from the action, Sam Mendes smartly included the links and connections to Bond’s past in Casino Royale and Skyfall. I really appreciated the constant ‘easter egg’ references to Vesper and Le Chiffre from Casino Royale and Silva in Skyfall. Attention to wrap up Daniel Craig’s bond journey is never lacking as Mendes seamlessly makes Craig’s Bond narrative an elaborate and emotional ride. Daniel Craig still looked the cool debonair with his usual unbreakable rugged spirit. Personally, I found the ‘MI6 being scrapped’ sideline story to be a bit repetitive as Skyfall featured the same thing. It sort of distracted us from the main narrative without adding much value. Whereas M’s story was central to Skyfall’s overall arc, this one served only as a ‘filler’. It could definitely have been improved in my opinion, by building on the connections to Bond or even Oberhauser’s past.
In the end, Spectre was a nice conclusion for Daniel Craig’s Bond era. It was a move to the more conventional Bond movie archetype, hitting hard on action sequences as opposed to developing a more nuanced emotional undercurrent like it’s predecessor. But ultimately, Spectre was hugely entertaining, and really set itself out to be give a complete wrap up for Craig’s bond. With Spectre, Craig’s Bond journey becomes the most intriguing yet.