The James Bond series is iconic for many reasons — the girls, the guns, the villains, the violence and the man himself. Bond (Daniel Craig) encounters each in the latest installment of the 53-year-old series. “Spectre” (2015) delivers excitement, but during its two and a half hour run-time, the usual kitsch begins to feel stale when the film turns into a greatest-action-hits-of-the-last-few-years snoozefest.
“Skyfall” (2013) took the most recent action trope — make the hero morally corrupt — and did a very good job of creating a realistic world. The new film takes the realism established in “Skyfall,” and remixes it to create a world where Sean Connery’s Bond style and Daniel Craig’s Bond style coexist. Imagine if George Clooney’s Batman starred in “The Dark Knight” (2008). It would not work.
The film also seems to steal from a couple films of the last several years, specifically the democratic right to privacy from “Captain America 2” (2014) and “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” (2015). While “Spectre” does speak to the tension between privacy and security in the information age, “Captain America 2” did a better job of exhibiting this. The main characters, very public in that movie, wanted to remain private for good reasons. In “Spectre,” the main character has nothing at stake but losing a job. Bond doesn’t have a license to kill in the end? Alright. We will still have spy movies.
While “Spectre” pulls out all the Bond stops — the girl, the villain and the exotic locales — it doesn’t try to be anything more than a Bond film. Previously, “Skyfall” hit the familiar notes, but also became a statement that Bond can be so much more. It seems that this new film tries to reign that back in. Even “Rogue Nation” was a better Bond film without having the man himself. “Spy” (2015), a spoof spy film with Melissa McCarthy, certainly tops “Spectre” as well. You get the picture — the new Bond film was cliche.
“Spectre” is now in theaters. It stars Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Christoph Waltz, and Ralph Fiennes, and is directed by Sam Mendes.
Joseph Walls is a freshman film production major. This review reflects the view of the author only.