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Review: Spectre

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Daniel Craig stars as James Bond in Sony Pictures' SPECTRE

You would probably think that Spectre would be a fantastic action film filled with the style of espionage that only the likes of James Bond can produce since it’s the last film in the series to feature Daniel Craig as the iconic spymaster. While that’s the most that its fans can hope for, the Sam Mendes directed project doesn’t exactly bring with it the kind of quality that can accomplish that. That’s not to say that this is not worth watching, but there are a few things that stop it from being all that it can be.

Spectre follows James Bond on an adventure that once again sees him traveling the globe. This time he’s inspired to do so after receiving a cryptic message from his past. As he slowly unlocks the mysteries behind this message, he comes to learn of a secret organization known as SPECTRE with a wildly intelligent leader (Christoph Waltz) at the helm. His first goal was to take the organization down, but he soon finds out that his connection with the man in charge runs much deeper than he could have originally thought.

The build up during the early portions of Spectre is slow but quite good actually. It’s rare that we get to see modern films handle a slow pace so effectively. Because of this being so exquisitely done here, I was truly looking forward to what else Sam Mendes had to offer us for the remainder of Spectre‘s duration. Unfortunately, this is where the issues begin to show up and become more prominent as time moved along.

Now there aren’t a great deal of problems overall in Spectre, but the issues that it has are clear. For starters, although Christoph Waltz is the main antagonist in the picture, he’s not really a primary focus of the movie. At first, I expected that they were going to present him as they did Javier Bardem in Skyfall. Waltz comes in at some point in the second act, then I suspected they would have him rise in relevancy as the story continued because of that and because of this connection he’s supposed to have with Bond.

Instead, they decided to pretty much ignore him soon after he’s introduced and only use him for a few scenes after that. As a matter of fact, Dave Bautista’s mute like villain may actually get more screen time than Waltz does. Not only that, but Waltz plays a character so irrelevant in terms of screen time, that it’s literally almost impossible to even remember his name.

Rather than building on his character and the growing tension between he and 007, Spectre is more concerned with placing the spotlight on the budding relationship between Craig’s James Bond and Léa Seydoux’s Madeleine Swann through most of what should be the meatiest parts of the film. The scenes where it’s just the two of them are kind of flat and uninteresting. There’s really no chemistry between the two newly acquainted lovers, but that’s tough to do when Seydoux is portraying such a lifeless character throughout.

Instead of building up the relationship between those two, they could have used this time to develop Christoph Waltz’s villain. By not choosing to go in this direction, not only does it hurt the film, it turns the lead antagonist into a side character during what’s supposed to be a time where we as viewers get some of the best that an action movie like this is has to offer.

While the flaws in Spectre aren’t able to destroy it, they certainly prevent it from being a great James Bond film. Ultimately, there are things that provide entertainment, but there could have been more. When thinking about it, it seems like maybe there’s a chance that the people behind this movie just ran out of ideas. Why else would they make it this way? It can’t be because they thought this was a good way to handle things, can it?

Rating: PG-13

Director: Sam Mendes

Daniel Craig
Christoph Waltz
Léa Seydoux
Ralph Fiennes
David Bautista
Naomi Harris
Andrew Scott
Ben Whishaw
Monica Bellucci
Jesper Christensen

Film Length: 148 minutes

Release Date: November 6, 2015

Distributor: Sony Pictures

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