The James Bond franchise has managed to survive for more than 50 years, with a string of actors playing the iconic MI6 spy. Whether you get into arguments about who’s the best Bond (for me, it’s Daniel Craig), or just watch them out of enjoyment, they’ll continue being made until cockroaches take over the earth and they find their own Bond. With Daniel Craig leaving the franchise and no clear sign about who the next Bond will be (even though it should be Idris Elba), we have to address how good Spectre is. The bad news: it really could’ve been better.
Some of the major plot points in this one: Bond’s hunt not only leads him to the secret evil organization Spectre, but also gets him in continuous hot water with MI6. As Q (Ben Whishaw) and Miss Moneypenny (Naomi Harris) try to help Bond as best they can, there’s also the matter of M (Ralph Fiennes) not only trying to keep things with Bond under control, but combatting a slimy new guy (Andrew Scott) who’s pushing for an international security deal that would massively expand the global surveillance state. Oh, and we also get another Bond woman (Léa Seydoux), this time a psychiatrist who’s the daughter of a man Bond tracks down in his search; and we get the reboot of one of Bond’s most iconic villains, played by Christoph Waltz.
So, how many familiar elements are present? Let’s see. Elaborate action sequences? Check. Evil plots and villains? Double check. Bond woman? Without a doubt. International travel? Most definitely. Bond theme? As good as Sam Smith can be. “Writing’s on the Wall” won’t go down in film history as one of the great Bond themes, but it’s still there. I think I’ll stop here.
I think a major problem is that we’ve been spoiled. After the spectacular reinvention of Bond with Casino Royale, the bar for Bond films has been set incredibly high. And although Daniel Craig has been brilliant as Bond, this movie just doesn’t cut it. Not that there aren’t good things about it. Waltz pulls off another remarkable performance, and Scott (who plays Moriarty in Sherlock) does a great job of making us want to punch his character in the nose. But Spectre doesn’t feel as inspired as it should. Then again, Craig has stated how much he’s done with Bond. But did the end of an era have to be this?
Spectre is now available to buy on DVD and Blu-ray, so if you’re a Bond aficionado and you want to round out your collection, then go ahead. For casual Bond fans and moviegoers alike, it’s a real shame that we know Bond can be better than this. Maybe if the next Bond film brings in elements that will help elevate it (Idris Elba as Bond, Lana Del Rey to do the next Bond theme), then our faith can be restored once more. That said, there’s no reason to hold your breath for the next Bond to come out anytime soon.