Shoot outs, car chases, and plane crashes — “Spectre” has every quality of a great James Bond movie with a few extra bonuses. Director Sam Mendes, winner of an Academy and Golden Globe award for his film “American Beauty,” incorporates tremendous action scenes such as those in “Casino Royale” without creating all of the confusion of “Quantum of Solace.” The duration of his suspenseful scenes seem longer than ever before, so be prepared to be sit on the edge of your seat with your heart racing for the greater part of the two and a half hour-film.
Perhaps the most impressive part of this movie, though, is the fact that Bond undergoes an inconceivable amount of head trauma, yet still manages to locate his latest enemy — a close acquaintance from his past. This character goes by the name of Oberhauser and is played by Christoph Waltz, who, despite being 59, has an innocent baby face that makes him physically fit for the role of a twisted killer that never recovered from conflicts in his upbringing. However, Waltz’s acting wasn’t necessarily where it should be. Other minor “bad guys” in the movie, like Denbigh played by Andrew Scott, had smaller roles but bigger personalities that made their scenes more interesting to watch that Waltz’s. While the villainous Oberhauser is a nice tribute to the past life of Bond, it doesn’t seem we are going to see any more of Daniel Craig in the future.
Daniel Craig has been Bond since 2005 and starred in four Bond films including “Skyfall,” a film so extraordinary it is sometimes considered the best Bond movie to date. Bond doesn’t say much, but Craig delivers the lines with so much eloquence and wit that the movie-watchers are compelled to listen closely to every word. Mendes also cleverly utilizes light and darkness in the film settings to his advantage, although sometimes it hurts the viewers’ eyes going from a pitch black scene to a blinding white one in a nanosecond. In the darkness, there is suspense, confusion and fear for Bond. On the contrast, when there is light, there is often new information about Bond being revealed and the viewer can see hope for this troubled assassin.
Despite his talent, fans of the Bond films have suspected that Craig is going to step down from his position, with many pointing out plausible reasons for all of the speculation. Firstly, in every film, Bond has a female-sidekick-love-interest by his side that helps him in his crime and then vanishes by the end of the film.
Madeleine Swann, though, is different. Portrayed by Léa Seydoux, Madeleine is the daughter of an ex-assassin who, moments before his death, made Bond promise that he would keep her safe. Bond makes it his mission to keep her guarded, despite the fact that she is more than qualified to be her own bodyguard.
Swann seriously disapproves of Bond’s way of life and expresses throughout the movie how much she loathes his excessive use of guns. This leaves the viewer to question — will Bond give up being an assassin for the girl? While the Bond movies will go on forever, this blonde may have encouraged Craig to tap out. Additionally, Craig is growing older. There are only two Bond actors that surpassed him in acting age; Roger Moore, who was featured in the 1985 film “A View to Kill” at age 57 and Pierce Brosnan, who was 49 in “Die Another Day.” Finally, this will be Mendes’ last time directing a Bond film, so it would be natural for Craig to leave with him.
“Spectre” has more than just the crying, drinking and indiscriminate killing of past Bond films—it brings the viewer to a place in Bond’s world that they have never been before. Like most Bond movies, I found this film a little hard to follow. Different from other action movies, Bond films rarely have a distinct beginning, middle and end to the plot. While this confusion was sometimes aggravating, it ultimately made the movie better. The viewer gets so engrossed in the story, trying to focus on what every character is doing at every moment, that it’s hard to justify looking up for a second, even just to use the bathroom. It’s near impossible to pick a favorite or least favorite scene because each moment is just another piece to this complex puzzle of Bond’s quest to save the lives of others by taking the life of one. Overall, I would rate this movie a seven out of ten stars; it is great for those who have and haven’t seen Bond films alike.