As a Bond movie lover, I didn’t accept the change that the character went through during the Daniel Craig era. I was a skeptic but accepted it as a creative decision as I make the same arguments for some other movies. But to be honest, Skyfall reinstated the confidence in the character and Daniel Craig (it really did).
The stage was set with Skyfall’s brilliant ending and Spectre was supposed to be a spectacular finale that started in Casino Royale (2006). It was the completion of the origin story to show us why James Bond is what he is – suave, misogynistic, fearless and enigmatic. Alas, Spectre flattered to deceive, it’s a colossally boring movie that’s pointless and makes you think “all that puff for this?”
Spectre does have an explosive start. The long drawn chase, destruction and spectacular fight on the helicopter sets the tone for the movie but from there it sinks to the bottom. Bond kills Sciarra as M (Judi Dench in a brief video appearance asks him to) and tracks down his wife Lucia (Monica Bellucci – seriously, why was she in the movie?) to know the whereabouts of a secret organization – later revealed as Spectre. While he is rogue and tracking down Spectre among the architectures of Rome and snow clad mountains of Austria, back in London, there is a political turmoil happening to scrap “00” program and a surveillance program is replacing them through the efforts of new joint defence secretary, C (played by Andrew Scott of Moriarty fame). Bond tracks down Mr.White, one of the Spectre members, who kills himself after revealing that his daughter, Madeleine (Lea Seydoux) has the key to tracking down Franz Oberhauser or Blofeld or Number 1 of Spectre (played by Christoph Waltz).
I can’t complain of predictability in a Bond movie because it is supposed to be predictable, but it has to be deceptive. When Sam Smith was singing “the writing’s on the wall”, I should have been careful because the movie was as predictable that even a small child would say what’s happening around Bond and M while they are clueless about it. On the other hand, Spectre and Blofeld have a long history in the Bond movies. Although different actors from played it since Thunderball, it’s one of those characters that was charismatically ruthless in various instalments. Here, this is first time we are seeing him (as it’s the origin) and he has been the reason for all that’s happening in Bond’s life so far, and the way he falls to Bond is utterly stupid and laughable. Christoph Waltz’s charisma doesn’t save the character and his long monologues don’t help either. A “good vs bad” movie is as good as its villain. Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) and Silva (Javier Bardem) were so powerful that the characterization of Oberahuser (Blofeld) was wimpy in comparison to theirs. After all, he is supposedly the mastermind behind their actions.
Spectre has its moments – the car chase in Rome was brilliantly choreographed, the romance between Madeleine and Bond is sensuous but apart from that, there is nothing much to celebrate. In fact, the fight sequence with Blofeld is boringly choreographed and some characters leave without an impact. There are so many loose ends in the movie that don’t add up. For instance, what happens to Monica Bellucci or what about Hinx? It is just so surprising that this is the same team that delivered Skyfall.
When you watch Spectre, there is one question that looms around as a fan. Does James Bond need an origin story? Do we need to unravel the enigma of this classic character? The mystery is what makes him what he is. He is not some comic book character and we don’t need to get in to his brain and thoughts to understand why he is insensitive, misogynistic or ruthless. We don’t need to do a psychological analysis of Bond like we do for Batman and Superman. But when the makers have decided to go for an origin story, it needs a perfect ending. Spectre seems to be an unplanned ending for a planned origin story (or was it?). Spectre seems to be an afterthought and the ending is even more despicable than the movie. At the end of the movie, we are left wondering, what would they do in the next instalment.
Spectre will be one of the most boring and pointless Bond movies ever made. It will end up in the bottom with “A View to a Kill” and “Live and Let Die”.