Spectre Review

  • Directing6
  • Writing5
  • Acting6.5

Spectre is easily one of Daniel Craig's weakest Bond films yet, with returning director Sam Mendes doing very little with the problematic script that makes for a roughly cut action film that's too long and convoluted for its own good.

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Spectre is easily one of the worst Daniel Craig 007 flicks and quite possibly one of the worst of the entire franchise. Skyfall director Sam Mendes returns to the series and burns all of his graces as he tries to piece together an overly complicated, but highly predictable story into a coherent Bond film, with rough-edged action and an airless approach that somehow makes Daniel Craig‘s usual charm feel a little stiff, not to mention a completely wasted performance from Christoph Waltz. Spectre isn’t just a disappointment for Bond fans — it’s a letdown for anyone looking for an action movie that doesn’t rely on tired cliches used a dozen times over.

James Bond (Daniel Craig) returns as he digs deeper into the rogue side of spying, hunting down a name in honor of M. This leads him on a twisty path into darkness as his past is brought forward as he faces one of his longest enemies and a true mastermind.

Or at least that’s what Spectre wants to make you believe.

The actual fact is that the film makes little of any sense, relying far too much on character beats with little motive and more show-and-tell. Spectre plays with the tired plot of the mastermind simply letting things happen so that his victim reaches stage A and then eventually B, with little involvement until the timing is precisely right.

It’s hard to explain without spelling the film out and spoiling it, so I’ll just skip over all of that and tell you that it doesn’t work. Director Sam Mendes tries to piece together a messy and stiff script and the result is a complete disaster, especially for a Bond film.

Mendes did good things with Skyfall, keeping things feeling fresh and exciting, yet furthering the backstory of Bond in a way that felt appropriate for this series. Spectre limps on those notions, while trying to become a past Bond film, full of idiotic scenes that are just downright cheesy and off-putting with Craig’s established character.

Spectre essentially undoes everything that Casino Royale created, pushing Bond back into the stone ages of spy movies where the plots were thin and comical and the action far from impressive.

Spectre also manages to completely waste a perfectly fine Christoph Waltz performance, undermining the poorly written character and reducing Waltz’s performance to simple smirks and shrugs. It’s not that Waltz is bad, but he’s definitely miss-directed, which feels more like a shortchange from the script and not so much Mendes.

There’s just nothing written for Waltz to chew up, which causes him to spell out plot points at wholesale, while also trying to shoe-horn in winks and nods to classic Bond characters and moments without any bit of cleverness.

It’s just lazy fan service that should make them angry if anything.

The film’s brightest moments rest in pro wrestler turned actor Dave Bautista. He brings his sheer power and brute force to the film in a way that commands the screen and gives us a perfectly acceptable Bond henchman that’s worthy of going toe-to-toe with Craig.

He’s not in the film enough, despite the film’s longer than needed running time.

Seriously, Spectre feels every bit as long as it is, with action sequences failing to impress and crucial plot points coming off as hilariously overdone. Absolutely nothing works for Spectre when it comes to structuring a satisfying Bond adventure that we haven’t already seen a million times before.

I’m starting to worry about Daniel Craig and if he’s losing interest in the role or maybe just too tired to point out a horrid script before it enters production. Or maybe he doesn’t even get a say in that?

Spectre is a rotten dud that’ll leave a lingering impression. Those of you that thought Quantum of Solace was the worst Craig Bond film might want to rethink their stance, because Spectre gives it a strong run for its money. It might come out slightly ahead because of Bautista’s performance and because of Waltz’s attempt at a Bond villain, but it struggles making anything stick.

Spectre hangs on by the threads of Bond faithful’s, hoping that they’ll give it a pass because of the Bond name, but those of us not completely biased will quickly find out that Spectre isn’t just a bad Bond film, but it’s also just a poorly made action film on a basic level.

Hopefully the next Bond film will deliver. It seems that every other Craig Bond film manages to hold some quality, with Solace and Spectre sliding right between Casino Royale in Skyfall.

Bond faithful’s will be seeing this one regardless, but those of you on the fence will want to pass right by this one and settle for something else. Spectre is a waste of time, money and resources. Hopefully Mendes moves onto better things and new writers are brought in to replace the atrocity that is the Spectre script.

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