Spectre doesn’t know what it wants to be


Over the course of 53 years, James Bond has evolved from Sean Connery’s charismatic, suave but not exactly realistic Bond into Daniel Craig’s brooding, tortured version. Craig returns in “Spectre” after a three-year break since 2012’s exhilarating “Skyfall”.
As usual, Craig is fantastic. His Bond is less a spy and more an assassin for Her Majesty’s Government. Bond recognizes the hypocrisy and violence that is inherent to his job, but chooses to continue snuffing out the targets that are sent to him.
The supporting cast, who put a lot of effort into their performances, includes Ralph Fiennes, Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott, Naomie Harris, Lea Seydoux and Ben Whishaw. Last but not least, Christoph Waltz is fantastic as the film’s villain, though the script gives him little to do, and he has only maybe 20 minutes of screentime.
And that appears to be the main problem with the film: the script. The writers seem to want to create a throwback Bond film while keeping the recent films’ much darker elements. For example, toward the end of the second act, Bond gets into a brutal fight with one of Waltz’s henchmen. After a lot of punches and blood, Bond throws the henchman out of a moving train, but not before he can stop the movie in its tracks to say, “Shoot.” The absolute camp that came with the line left the theatre visibly confused. Was that supposed to be funny? It really takes the audience out of what is supposed to be a realistic movie.
Despite the script’s limitations, Sam Mendes returns as a great director. The contrast between light and dark on top of a muted color palate carry nearly every frame of this movie. In addition, the opening scene of this movie is absolutely stunning.
Even with its disappointing script, “Spectre” is still a well-directed and well-acted Bond film, although it isn’t nearly as good as 2006’s “Casino Royale” or 2012’s “Skyfall”. I would give this Bond flick three and a half out of five stars.