Hot cars, hot women, hot explosions — the blueprint for the previous 23 James Bond films was followed again in Spectre, the newest addition to the franchise. Spectre is nostalgic of the early Bond films, but it is also grounded in the cyber-fueled society of the modern world. It brings together the world of trains and Aston Martins with the world of microchips and drones.
In Spectre, Daniel Craig quite literally “suits up” again for his fourth appearance as Bond. Craig continues to bring his signature “rugged and damaged” nature to his characterization of the MI6 agent, even as his mission leads him to go rogue.
The title of the movie comes from the super secret society that connects the plots of the previous Craig-era Bond movies. It’s not necessary to see the previous movies to understand the plot, but you will miss out on fully understanding some minor plot points.
The leader of SPECTRE is the inimitable Christoph Waltz. I’ve been waiting for Waltz to play a Bond villain ever since his phenomenal performance as Jew hunter Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds. Now that it has finally happened, I’m slightly disappointed. Waltz has the ability to play dynamic roles, but his character in Spectre, Oberhauser, feels two-dimensional. A shame considering the two-and-half hour runtime gave the movie plenty of time to develop him further.
Naomie Harris and Ben Whishaw reprise their roles as Eve Moneypenny and Q, respectively. Harris’s character is quite different from the Moneypenny of pre-Craig era Bond. This new Moneypenny is not just the secretary who spends her time pining after Bond. Instead, she has become a larger and more rounded supporting role, working behind the scenes during Bond’s mission, while also having a life of her own. Q continues to be adorably nerdy, even during a run in with some bad guys.
In accordance with the previous Bond films, Spectre’s many locations are not just the background to shootouts and car chases, but are almost characters themselves. From the festive Dia de los Muertos celebration in Mexico to the snowy mountaintops in Austria, each location provides a unique and beautiful scenery.
It’s rumored that Spectre will be Craig’s final Bond movie. If so, then without giving anything away, I will say that the film did a satisfying job of wrapping up Craig’s tenure as 007.
Spectre will not be the film of the year, but it doesn’t pretend to be. James Bond films are not about leaving the viewer with deep insights about society. They are about entertaining the audience with cars, sex and shootouts — none of which Spectre lacks.