Spectre [2015]

Spectre [2015] is the latest installment in the “James Bond” franchise. Sam Mendes once again returns to the director’s chair as Daniel Craig returns as the titular role. This time around, James Bond (Craig) is on the hunt to uncover a secret terrorist organization that may or may not have ties to the ghosts of his tragic past.

A pure return to the past. One of the biggest things I’ve felt that we’ve truly lost in these last few iterations of the popular hero is the sheer sense of adventure and scope that was highly prevalent in the Connery era of spy films; luckily Spectre is a true return to form when it comes to that. The grandeur and vastness of the landscapes and locations our characters are interacting within are actually pretty astounding. The film globetrots quite a bit and the locations are all equally breathtaking; from the opening chase sequence in Mexico City, down the Austrian winter wasteland set-piece that we get for the majority of the second act. They’re all hauntingly large and it really gives us a feeling of how important this mission really is.

Perfectly scored. Thomas Newman also returns here with a score that works beautifully with the cut Mendes has released. The score sounds unlike something we’ve really seen before in a Bond film with little odes and homages to the original films sprinkled throughout. Say what you will about the Sam Smith opening titles song- but it really works in the confines of the movie and with it’s sweeping instrumental cords it definitely feels very classic while also helping sell that sense of vastness in the world of the film.

Rough cut. Beyond the excellent opening, the first half of the film is at times a chore to sit through. It’s extremely sluggish and sort of ambles around after throwing in a few action (excellent) scenes. Once the beginning of the third act kicks in and we finally start understanding the motivations of our characters as they start to make rational decisions- that’s when things really start getting interesting. The finale of the film is on par with the haunting and emotionally resonate ending of Skyfall. It’s a blast to watch but due to the first half of the film feeling weirdly ‘off’, Spectre sometimes feels like a rough cut to the film that we weren’t meant to watch.

A great double feature with Skyfall. The film overall feels like a great companion piece to Skyfall as it ties up most loose ends previously set up from the previous films. Daniel Craig has been outspoken lately about leaving the franchise behind and how this is his last installment. Which makes perfect sense because his character at the end of Spectre, as haunted as he was in the other films, he exorcised most of his inner demons by the end of the two and half hour runtime. A fitting end to his James Bond character.

Maybe not as satisfying or as memorable Skyfall, but Spectre is definitely a fantastic finale to the Daniel Craig iteration of the iconic character.