This is my last installment in my look back to the James Bond 007 series in anticipation for the new installment, Spectre. If you are interested in any of my earlier installments, click here.
A message from the past leads Agent 007, James Bond (Daniel Craig) to Mexico City then Rome, where he meets a beautiful widow, Lucia Sciarra (Monica Bellucci) of an infamous criminal. After infiltrating a secret meeting, Bond uncovers the existence of an evil organization known as SPECTRE. Needing the help of Madeline Swan (Léa Seydoux), the daughter of an old nemesis Mr. White (Jesper Christensen), he embarks on a mission to protect her. As Bond ventures through the heart of SPECTRE, he discovers a chilling connection between himself and the enemy, Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz) he seeks.
So the time to look back is now over and it’s time to look forward and after seeing Skyfall (the first time being early last year), I’ve really been looking forward to this one. It seemed to me that Daniel Craig’s Bond films so far have served as more of a reboot of the Bond series (except for Quantum of Solace as far as I know) and this one is no different. More characters are introduced and also hinted at here as well. These may or may not have been spoiled elsewhere but I will not do that here. The one thing that I’ve liked so far in the current Daniel Craig Bond series (again with the exception of Quantum of Solace) is the more realistic tone and this entry mostly continues along those lines. The pre-credits scene basically consists of Bond chasing leads in an over-the-top fashion. This leads into a pretty good credit sequence featuring a decent theme, called “Writing’s on The Wall” by Sam Smith. The plot in this one is about Bond (spoiler alert) completing one of the last wishes of Judi Dench’s M who died at the end of the previous film, Skyfall. this quest eventually leads him to SPECTRE, the evil organization responsible for almost all the evil things that have happened in almost every Bond film so far (since this is a reboot, all of those things don’t count) and their leader Franz Oberhauser played by Waltz. I thought the plot was pretty interesting seeing how the new generation would depict the evil organization that I’ve known so well over time (the reasons behind this are beyond the scope of this review). While it did suffer from some logic issues and some bad character choices (biased from my knowledge of previous films), these were minor complaints. There was also a minor subplot about government surveillance but this wasn’t explored as much as I would have liked. Keeping with the other films of the series so far, the action in this was very good and exciting. What made it so exciting is that it was well shot as they take it to familiar and unfamiliar places. It does however start to veer towards the over-the-top the further the film goes. I thought the acting in this was excellent, especially by Craig and Waltz whose few scenes together redeemed the film for most of its problems. Craig is always reliable as he brings realism to the role and it doesn’t hurt that he can handle himself with all of the action and often wins with his charm. Waltz (as he did in Inglorious Basterds) manages to steal the few scenes he is in and really does a good job with the cunning, evil guy role. I also thought Ben Whishaw as Q in a more expanded role, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, and Ralph Fiennes as M were also good in minor roles and I was also nice to see the three of them work together with Bond for the first time in a Bond film. Overall, this is another great entry in the Bond series which starts to stray away from the kind of storytelling which made the first films in the Craig Bond series so great but Craig and Waltz make this worth a look.