Friday, February 12, 2016

I've Finally Seen: SPECTRE (2015)

© by Gerald So | | 7:00 P.M.

James Bond is suspended after his pursuit of an assassin in Mexico City causes an international incident. Nevertheless, Bond enlists the help of Moneypenny and Q as he continues investigating a conspiracy threaded through Daniel Craig's entire run playing the character.

Mixed reviews kept me from seeing it in theaters, but I always knew I would dissect Spectre on video. The continuity of Craig's four movies is a flaw, in my opinion. As much as I like seeing familiar faces, that familiarity made this fourth time around feel more like episodic television than the event of Olympic proportions a Bond movie usually is. Too often the movie cut away from Bond, to what M, Moneypenny, and Q were doing. Sorry, but these are supposed to be Bond movies, not Bond and His Amazing Friends movies.

The identity of Christoph Waltz's villain, like Benedict Cumberbatch's Khan from Star Trek into Darkness, was poorly kept. Worse, after all the hype, he neither made a grand escape nor died magnificently. His final showdown wasn't even with Bond, but with M.

Meanwhile, Lea Seydoux rivaled Eva Green for her character's depth and chemistry with Daniel Craig. I got the sense Swan and Bond really would leave their lives behind to be with each other. This would have made a fine finale for Craig's Bond. The thing is it wasn't a finale; he's contracted for one more Bond movie.

On the other hand, Spectre is rumored to be Sam Mendes's last time directing Bond. He may have wanted to put the stamp on his time with the franchise, but because it is just another in Craig's tenure, I have to rank Spectre behind Casino Royale and Skyfall, ahead of only Quantum of Solace.

It appears we've reached the natural end of a story arc. If so, Craig's fifth and possibly final Bond film may feel out of place, hanging loosely from the rest.

Then again, Spectre may turn out to be Craig's final Bond film for another reason: It's the last film in Eon's current financing partnership with Sony Pictures. Eon's search for a new partner could put off progress on its twenty-fifth Bond film. If and when things pick up, Craig, like Timothy Dalton before him, could no longer want to play Bond.

1 comment:

StephenD said...

I agree with your rankings of Craig's movies. I do like some of the continuity between the four movies, but in some ways it holds it back. One of the main problems I had with the villain was his motivation was petty and small. So the last four movies of torturing Bond were all orchestrated by Waltz's character's jealousy of Bond as a child? That ruins them in a way.