SPECTRE(PG-13)Starring Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista, Monica Bellucci, Andrew Scott and Rory Kinnear. Written by John Logan & Neal Purvis & Robert Wade & Jez Butterworth.
Directed by Sam Mendes.
It’s not quite Quantum of Solace bad, but it’s not Skyfallgood either. Here’s where I first thought we might be in trouble. The movie opens with an impression opening scene in Mexico City during the Day of the Dead. A giant parade of thousands going down the street. James Bond (Daniel Craig) sees his target and shoots. Somehow the building blows up. I couldn’t tell if Bond had some sort of mini-rocket or if some villains blew up the building. Anyway, after the explosion, he sees his main target still alive and he chases him.
About two blocks later, the parade is still going as if no one heard that building explode. The celebration continues. The movie seems to forget that it just blew up a building. When Bond catches his guy trying to escape by helicopter, the shots of the city somehow don’t include a burning pile of rubble. “You just blew up a building two blocks away. How comes no one’s noticed?”
Spectre feels like an assembly of cool set pieces and stunts, but they never really strung them together with a compelling plot. I think that’s why it feels empty when we get to our showdown between Bond and Franz (Christoph Waltz). What is Franz’s ultimate goal? Why is he doing what he’s doing? Why doesn’t he just kill Bond?
Don’t get me wrong. The set pieces, the stunt-work, the locations, etc., are all top-notch. I also liked how Bond’s supporting characters are given more to do than be in the office and the beginning and end of the story. M (Ralph Fiennes), Q (Ben Whishaw), and Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) all actually go on the road to help Bond with his latest, off-the-books mission.
Really, a few of the Bond films have suffered over the years from not having villains with clear motives. So this seems to follow in that tradition.