The fourth film of Daniel Craig’s interpretation of James Bond (and possibly his last, if the rumour mill is to be believed) is, in this meerkat’s humble opinion, his best outing yet.
Having settled in to see the film this morning with my wife, I was quickly drawn into an impressive mix of high octane action, an intriguing story that delves into the history of Craig’s Bond (and touches upon previous films), and a more relaxed Bond.
Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall were all, in my view, good Bond films, but Craig’s Bond was quite abrupt, cold and humourless throughout them all. In Spectre, Bond is a little more at ease in his own skin, and whilst that gruff exterior is still much evident, he is not afraid to crack a few jokes or make light of the situations he finds himself in.
This is a well-paced film, involving a villainous global organisation committed to worldwide mayhem, and they are suitably evil, setting up a variety of terrible events in order to further their agenda. There are nods to Jaws with one of the henchmen (a particularly strong bad guy played by David Bautista with quiet menace), and Q injects several moments of subtle humour (well played by Ben Whishaw). Léa Seydoux plays Bond’s principal love interest in this film, but her character is far more than another Bond girl, instead showing resilience under pressure (and in fact saves Bond’s life at one point).
We get an exhilarating fight in a helicopter to open the film, and we have an understated but entertaining car chase, and of course, we get a villain (played by Christoph Waltz) who tries to rankle Bond at every opportunity, giving us classic Bond villain tropes (such as having Bond completely at his mercy but preferring to devise an elaborate death, rather than doing the smart thing, and rather nasty forms of torture).
There’s also a turn in this film for Andrew Scott, formerly of Sherlock fame, as a side-villain, though to be honest, he doesn’t get a great deal of screen time, and his character isn’t particularly memorable. Ralph Fiennes reprises his role as M, but again, doesn’t get a huge amount to do, though he does get to take part in a couple of action scenes toward the end.
Speaking of action, the set pieces here are well-staged and don’t go over the top, with a particularly entertaining fight on a train, and Bond using a plane as a makeshift car. This is definitely a film worth revisiting.