Directed by: Sam Mendes
Starring: Daniel Craig, Chrisoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux
Review By Collin Stroup
If Skyfall was a modernized Bond with flairs of classic Bond films coming through, then Spectre is the inverse of that. The 24th entry in the franchise might be a bit confusing for newer fans as its steeped in nostalgia, referencing Bond films all the way back to its origins of Dr. No in 1962. For long time fans though, it’s an absolute delight as it marries the past and present iterations of the titular hero.
Spectre throws us into the action with one of the best openings in the series. Bond follows a lead, without M’s approval, that sends him on a chase through a Day of the Dead festival and into an acrobatic helicopter fight. After that, Bond quickly begins his typical globetrotting, gathering new information about his past and linking all of Craig outings together to a secret organization named Spectre. With the help of Madeleine Swann, played brilliantly tough and sexy by Lea Seydoux, there are a lot of classic Bond film moments with a few twists.
Each location is captured magnificently by cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema (Interstellar, Her) and scored once again by Thomas Newman which mostly feels like recycled bits from Skyfall, only a few moments really standing out from the score. And while much of the story and characters are linked to Skyfall and the other two Craig films, the shift in tone really sets this one apart. Opening with the classic screen shooting sequence, a giant silent henchman (The marvelous Dave Bautista), and villainous monologues from the charismatic Christoph Waltz, they’ve truly brought Bond full circle.
The film does run a little overlong in points, taking long breaks from the action to jam as much exposition as they can into the 148 minute runtime. Between that and a big shift in tone to a more fun campy Bond, this might turn some people off after the darker, serious toned Bond we’ve come to know. Despite its glaring flaws, and uneven pacing though, this ends up being a fun throwback to the Bond of old, and a fine development in the Daniel Craig series of Bonds.