Since talking about Spectre means you have to reference it and compare it wit Skyfall, I guess we’ll do some of that to start it off. I, seemingly, am one of the few people who didn’t like Skyfall at all, outside of the vastly underused Javier Bardem as the villain (which coincidentally, or not, is a problem in Spectre, too). Skyfall to me was way over-serious and overdramatic that was so far gone that it made Bond seem like a parody and made me laugh out loud at scenes such as that damn komodo dragon scene and the lack of tension or stakes in the climax. Spectre, on the other hand, is very much the opposite of this, almost a response, where Bond’s humour is played up a lot more and a lot of the story and characters just out-of-this-world insane that don’t actually make a lot of real world sense, but end up being a lot of fun in how ridiculous they are.
Spectre also brings back to prominence the idea of a strong Bond girl, who although, still falls too much into “damsel in distress” territory there is at least an attempt to establish a worthy and intelligent women to Bond’s equal and is not entirely just a stepping stones for Bond’s needs. I realize they always want these women to be of romantic interest to Bond, but I wish for once they’d downplay that situation. Of course, she falls for him, and even tries to get out of Bond’s warpath by saying she can’t be apart of all these dangerous shenanigans, so she leaves, only to immediately reverse her decision on how awesome and dangerous Bond is AFTER she gets saved from a building rigged with explosives by him. It doesn’t make much sense.
Surprisingly, the action scenes were pretty disappointing and run of the mill to me. The opening set piece at the Day of the Dead festival in Mexico City was a lot of fun and a cool set piece, but there wasn’t much that sticks in my memory as particularly impressive or lasting. I thought Dave Bautista would have a bigger role, as I kinda thought he was one of the main villains due to his marketing presence on the film, but nope he was literally just the big, dumb main henchman who doesn’t talk. Not that I have a problem with that at all, it’s literally the perfect role for him, I just thought a little more would come out of it, besides how generic it was.
Christoph Waltz was obviously a perfect choice to play a Bond villain, a role he was basically born to play. He was very underutilized and only really featured in the back half of the film, but it kind of gave his performance and scenes and more special and unique quality, like Bond had finally done enough to reveal and see the final boss.
I had a lot of fun with Spectre, it wasn’t amazing nor did it push the Bond films in a new direction, it was an amalgamation of some of the earlier Bond films, embracing the ludicrousness and reveling in the type of villain who creates an entire building to house an asteroid. I’m pretty sure the film is aware of all this stuff as it goes along, it’s not like everything is played so straight that it demands to be serious, it just stresses more on the entertainment than the always underlying sadness that has seemed to plague Bond for the Daniel Craig run. I do wonder after this how much tread is left on the Daniel Craig Bond tire. Whatever his contract or he says he seems tired of it, and he definitely shows some cracking at the edges during the film. I would love to see some new blood injected into the franchise and perhaps a different direction taken, not that the films have been bad, just maybe some fresh eyes would help shake things up in a less monotonous direction.