Bond film no. 24, Daniel Craig's fourth, and the end of this year's James Bond run. At least until I somehow manage to watch No Time To Die despite it coming out exclusively in theaters and our theaters still not open due to the pandemic.
Spectre is... okay. It's more or less the culmination of the past four movies of Craig's run. With all of his personal trials so far revealed to be the machinations of the head of nefarious organization SPECTRE and Bond's traditional archnemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Blofeld here (played by Christoph Waltz) is given a bit more backstory that gives him a closer personal tie to Bond himself - Bond was raised by Waltz's father after being orphaned, making the two of them almost adoptive brothers.
The film also presents a modern threat: government state surveillance systems; in this case a global network that has good intentions, but has been compromised by the bad guys. (That's always the danger with any of these authoritarian state control mechanisms - they can be compromised by the bad guys!)
Batista is here! A pleasant surprise, though he only has one spoken line. And I'm glad they didn't make it so that Bond could actually take him physically in a fight, because that's ridiculous, the guy is huge. Lea Seydoux has a good performance as Madeleine Swann, who is actually the first Bond girl who gets to ride away into the sunset with Craig's Bond.
Andrew Scott is also here as "C", the legal "face" of SPECTRE organizing the global surveillance network. He also provides a convenient bad guy for Fiennes' M and Whishaw's Q to get some actual field work in.
The action here is not as ostentatious as previous films, though there's still a couple of ridiculous car chase scenes. And I'm not yet sure how dumb it was that Bond and Swann just went out to where the bad guys were without knowing what they faced or any kind of backup; no wonder they got captured. (Although I'm wondering how Batista knew they would be on the train, or why he waited so long before ambushing them.)
The theme music is Sam Smith's "Writing's on the Wall", which isn't really my kind of thing, but I suppose it's good enough.
I don't think the film is the best of Craig's run (that honor probably still belongs to Casino Royale), but I do think it's a fitting finale to Craig's run (which was the original intent before he decided to come back for No Time To Die.)
Now that I've gone through all the movies so far, I thought about doing a series recap with rankings for each film (and a review would help me internalize details so that I can cover Bond films in our quiz nights, which was really one of the reasons I decided to do this run in the first place lol). But I guess it can wait until I somehow manage to watch the next one, which hopefully really will be Craig's last film.
The final trailer for No Time to Die came out a couple of weeks ago. Looks great actually!