Shaken, Not Stirred

I think I have a love/hate relationship with the Daniel Craig Bond films. I LOVED Casino Royale (mostly due to the electric chemistry of Craig and Eva Greene,) then I hated Quantum of Solace. Then Skyfall came out to RAVE reviews, and while I found it quite good and invariably better than its predecessor, it still left me a teeny bit disappointed because of the hype (Check out that review HERE.) Mostly, I love Daniel Craig as Bond so I *want* to love the movies, but I'm rarely fully satisfied with the films themselves. Unfortunately, Spectre continues that trend: fun, but uneven.

Spectre opens, as all Bond and spy films do: in the midst of a giant action set piece. That schtick is getting a little tiresome by now, but fortunately, this one happens to have a really cool setting by taking place in Mexico City on the Day of the Dead. It's a creative sequence, but occasionally my brain turned off as I waited for the action to come to an end so the exposition could begin and then the plot would start revealing itself. I thought once I got through that first bit, I'd be able to follow along just fine, but the same thing happened to me several times during the film. The action numbed me to certain events and I often found myself thinking "wait, how did we get here?" Certainly my fault for not paying better attention, but I can't imagine it would have made too much of a difference. You see, none of the details really matter anyway, because everything in Spectre is just so dang convenient that none of it really *needs* to make sense. Bond gets from every point he does because the movie needs him to. It's not about the "how" in these movies, so much as the action sequences. Spectre has some enjoyable ones and pays homage to some classic Bond films. If you're a fan of those, you'll probably really enjoy this film. If you're not? The movie is a mixed bag.

The emotional beats in this film are handled particularly poorly. The timing of two of his romantic encounters are incredibly ridiculous and "face palm" inducing. As usual, the physical and emotional intimacy is never earned and Craig just doesn't generate the kind of chemistry with either of his two love interests to make you care about their futures. As such, his concluding moments with one of them is very head scratching indeed [SPOILER highlight to read] I'm looking at you "gun toss" moment. [/end SPOILER]

What Spectre has going for it is its talented cast and its sleek style. In a year packed with spy movies, Bond always seems to be the most sophisticated. Craig is a part of that, but he's backed up with some great supporting players. Ben Whishaw as Q is a scene stealer, while Naomi Harris and Ralph Fiennes are solid as Moneypenny and M respectively. Christoph Waltz is somewhat wasted in a one-dimensional villain role that could have greatly benefited from a lot more fleshing out. He has a reveal in the finale that should greatly impact the audience, but mostly leaves everyone confused and once again thinking "well that was convenient." Just like everything else. All that said, I mostly enjoyed myself so I'm being a little more kind than I maybe should with my rating. EMILY RATING: 7/10


Sarah said...

I've only seen the first movie. I'm just not a big fan of the multiple love interests and spy movies in general. I did enjoy the first movie though.

Jason Kerin said...

Well, said and good review. Saw the movie last night and in the process of writing my review for Spectre.

Johanna said...

You know, that's often how I feel about actions scenes. Just get this over with so I can see the story. Karrie said she feels that way about musicals.