MOVIE REVIEW

James Bond movie arrives in theaters

DANIEL CRAIG GRACES the screen in his performance as the infamous James Bond in the film Spectre.

It must first be said that Spectre cannot be the first James Bond movie that someone new to the franchise watches. In fact, this movie makes a fleeting attempt to justify the storylines of the most recent films with Daniel Craig as Bond, so all of them become a prerequisite. Going into this movie cold would leave an individual confused, misguided, and unlikely to watch any more films from the franchise.
If this is the case, then what does it do for the die-hard Bond fanatics? Frankly, nothing good. The first 51 minutes of the film are squeamishly uncomfortable to watch and can only be likened to the comedic antics of the Roger Moore era. Unfortunately, it did not stop there; to follow was the subtle sampling of ideas throughout the film from several previous movies: GoldenEye (1995), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), From Russia with Love (1963) … the list goes on. At first it is taken as the recycling of ideas, but it is in fact a purposeful echoing of Bond’s past as the franchise attempts to reconcile the chronological issues caused by having six actors play Bond over a span of five decades. The reconciliation weaves a Möbius strip of a timeline that, when juxtaposed with certain previous films, makes one’s eyebrow raise quizzically.
Everyone is asking if Spectre is better than Skyfall (2012). The only answer is no. Were expectations higher for Christoph Waltz as a villain? The only answer is yes. Could more have been done with the essential elements of the Bond formula (henchmen, gadgets, Bond women, etc.)? Yes, yes, and yes. It cannot be said that Spectre is Daniel Craig’s worst installment, nor can it be said that it is the worst installment of the franchise. It is simply a dense movie for Bond fans that has far reaching implications.
The last topic worth discussing is Bond’s demeanor towards love. Bond has been infamously, and aptly, described within the franchise as a “sexist, misogynist dinosaur.” For better or for worse, the mentality that “men want to be him and women want to be with him” has proven to be financially beneficial to the franchise. Historically, any deviation from this mantra is met with ridicule by fans. The Daniel Craig films have been an attempt to humanize Bond and move him into the modern era of thought; Spectre pushes this boundary significantly. In fact, the final act of the film has love as such a prevalent theme that it casts doubt on Bond’s ability to maintain the ruthlessness required to be an assassin; effectively alienating the Bond the world has come to know.
For fans that are unsettled by this addition to the franchise, the only solace that can be provided is the recommendation that you stay in the theater all the way through the credits, where you will be given four simple words any Bond fan has surely seen before, and you will learn to cherish the franchise once again.