Spectre (2015)4:45 AM
Spectre is directed by Sam Mendes (Skyfall, American Beauty) and stars Daniel Craig (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Cowboys & Aliens), Lea Seydoux (Blue is the Warmest Colour, The Grand Budapest Hotel), Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter, The Grand Budapest Hotel), Naomie Harris (Pirates of the Caribbean, 28 Days Later...) and Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained, Inglorious B*****ds). "A cryptic message from Bond's past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE". Skyfall was a huge move - both critically and financially, can Spectre match or even top it?
So I thought Skyfall wasn't a great as everyone said it was - probably a 3.5 or 4 (B+), I think I am going to be in the minority once again for Spectre - it just couldn't compete with the fantastic 'spy' films we've had so far this year - Spy, Kingsman & Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation were all a lot better in my opinion. In my local cinema, a trailer for Spectre was tagged along every single movie since July - whether it was a comedy like Hot Pursuit, a drama like Everest or a children's film like Hotel Transylvania 2 or Pan - it was there! Is it bad for me to say that I actually preferred to trailers before Spectre started which were Star Wars and The Hunger Games to the actual film?
Let me make this clear, Spectre is not a bad film but it is far from being a great one. I found that the story didn't really kick in until the third act which was when the film became truly great. I also felt that there were no unforeseeable or shocking twists which I believe films like this should have. The plot for Spectre wasn't even that smart - spy movies just have the most intelligent plots going right? The plot was just lacking in originality - I just wasn't that impressed. Spectre is also quite a slightly bland film - there is action but every time it occurred I thought to myself 'and people say the Fast & Furious franchise is farfetched and unrealistic'.
Let me talk about something I liked before this starts to come across as a generally negative review. The third act was absolutely fantastic - hints of originality started to arise and I thought it was all just done really well. I really liked the end sequence as well - it portrayed the villain as quite crafty and that he really thinks things through. What I didn't like about this end sequence is it did what Age of Ultron did - a female character who has proven previously in the film to be quite strong and independent is turned into a damsel in distress. Another thing that almost ruined this spectacular third act was the actual conclusion - Bond has a choice - SPOILERS - to kill the villain or go and kiss the girl - guess what he chooses to do? I'll leave that for you to find out but it had to make what was otherwise quite a sophisticated movie very cheesy.
Here comes what is probably my most controversial critique - I didn't like Daniel Craig. This movie actually solidified that he isn't that great of an actor - he was quite 1 dimensional and didn't show any charisma, emotion or personality - I'm pretty sure he wasn't like this in Skyfall so maybe he is really getting fed up of playing Bond? Other than Craig, I thought the rest of the performances were done really well.
Other than the action sequences being quite far-fetched. They were generally well done and entertaining to watch. However, whenever an explosion occurred, it just looked completely fake - I thought this in the trailers and I thought it again when watching it in the film. The film also had a small humorous element to it which worked.
I also want to talk briefly about the running time - for a film to be 2 and a half hours long, it has to be truly captivating with a great plot and great characters - Spectre struggles on both of those things. There is also a major lack of diversity in the film - I believe it doesn't pass the Bechdel test and there is a minimum of characters who are of a different ethnicity other than white.
Coming from someone who didn't love Skyfall, Spectre doesn't have a patch on that movie. Spectre definitely shows Bond as sophisticated and stylish but it also makes him (and the whole film) come across as bland, emotionless and one dimensional which isn't helped by a slightly weak performance from Craig. The supporting cast all do fantastic even though choices made for their characters I may not agree with. Spectre is a mediocre movie and if you are craving a popcorn flick after a Summer full of them, go and see it but if you can wait till Mockingjay - I'd advise you to do that. Everyone has that film series they don't quite like - for some people it is Star Wars, for some people it is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, for me it is Bond.
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