The James Bond movies have always been a staple of the action, film genre since they burst onto the scene in the early 60’s. With what may very well be actor Daniel Craig’s last foray into the Bond films, Spectre seeks to connect all the dots from his previous three movies. Though the film has some of the best sound design I have heard in an action movie, it fails to succeed with almost everything that makes a Bond film memorable. While I normally don’t like to dive too deep into the narrative, I should warn you a lot of this films issues stem from the story so large spoilers ahead.
Recently the big trend in Hollywood appears to be their stubborn refusal to not let any big blockbuster movie stand alone. Everything needs to follow the model Marvel has started by connecting every single film to one another regardless of how convoluted it may appear at times. Shared universes are now a must and if you’re not doing that then you obviously aren’t going to gross more money than Scrooge McDuck would know what to do with…or that’s the thought. Sadly Spectre joins the ever growing list of films that fail to achieve a cohesive narrative between its previous movies. Instead, Spectre becomes a complete mess that left me with far more important questions than answers.
——————–Major Spoilers Ahead!!!!——————–
Spectre follows Bond as he tries to unravel the mystery behind a secret organization named Spectre which seems to be pulling the strings behind major global attacks. One thing leads to another and you learn that the main villain Oberhauser has been responsible for not only all James Bond’s suffering but all of the previous villains in his past three movies. Listen, I am all on board for trying to link villains like Silva and Le Chiffre to one major crime organization, but Spectre does literally nothing to explain this. You get the occasional nod to the other movies, but the film refuses to explain how any of these villains is directly connected to each other. It basically forces us to just accept they are all connected without having laid down any of the foundation for this concept. We are never told how villains like Silva came to work for Oberhauser or even what was the end goal for all of them. This is an issue since every single villain in the past three movies have had radically different goals and Spectre being an incredibly loose thread that connects them just doesn’t work.
It doesn’t help that everything in this movie is attempting to tie itself together with the previous three films. (Two films if we want to continue forgetting that Quantum of Solace never existed.) The Bond girl (Lea Seydoux) this time around is connected to one of the forgettable characters from two of the films and feels just shoehorned into the plot. Don’t get me wrong Seydoux does a commendable job in the role as a more than capable femme fatale, but the terrible plot overshadows her performance.The majority of the supporting cast are fine, with Q (Ben Whishaw) getting more screen time than in previous entries. Whishaw’s Q is amusing and clearly channels his inner John Cleese for a lot of his scenes. While Craig’s Bond is just as witty and charming, but it’s Christoph Waltz’s Oberhauser that is the dud.
Bond villains, while not terribly deep and complex, have always been very memorable. They have a natural charisma and danger about them, but Oberhauser is just awful. He appears int he film for maybe thirty minutes total (I’m being generous on that guess,) and most of the time it’s just to spout off his evil plan so the movie can move along. There is suppose to be a big twist at the end with who he is and what he ends up becoming to panhandle to us die hard Bond fans, but it doesn’t work. In fact, his character as a whole is completely forgettable, offering some of the dullest moments in the entire movie. Which is sad because Waltz seemed like a natural pick for a Bond villain. Speaking of an underutilized wrestler, Dave Bautista is in this movie as one of Spectre’s main henchmen called…well it says Hinx but I’m 90% they mention his name maybe once in the entire movie. As a Bond henchman, he does a good job of offering a physical presence, but that’s it. There is nothing unique or interesting about his character; Bautista is just a bigger version of the goons Bond beats up every day. Which is a shame because the train fistfight is probably the only memorable action moment in this movie.
Yep…somehow the one thing we should be able to rely on in a James Bond movie is completely screwed up as all of the action scenes are so unbearably dull. Spectre opens up with some promising visuals and a great location but really doesn’t utilize it at all. Instead, we get a boring helicopter fight, the lamest car chase in series history, a few gun fights, and something to do with a plane and a mountain; it’s all very forgettable. Though the sound design for the movie is fantastic and honestly some of the best I have heard in an action movie to date.
There is also a message getting lost in this movie about the dangers of government surveillance and how they can over extend their monitoring of civilians. Given that Spectre tries so desperately to thread every single needle the Craig era has constructed the big message just gets lost in the convoluted story. While Spectre is not the worst James Bond to come around it committed the biggest sin for any action movie; it was completely boring to just watch. In the end, this is a forgettable action film that doesn’t do service to the James Bond name. While not completely awful, the complete haphazard nature of this movie leaves me wanting more.
A recent graduate of Arcadia University, Collin MacGregor is a freelance video editor and writer. He covers video games, television, and film for The Nerd Stash. Collin currently is the head film/television reviewer for the site.