Spectre pulls it off

But where does the 007 franchise go from here?

Kim Taylor-Foster


Kim Taylor-Foster

Spectre pulls it off

Spectre (12A)
Running time 1hr 88mins
Rating: ****

WHEN Bond was reborn in 2006 with Casino Royale, 007 loyalists decried its Bourne-style bent, its humourless approach and taking-itself-seriously tone killed off many of the things that made the much-loved spy series unique, and it divided audiences. Others felt it was a much-needed shot in the arm for the tired franchise, bringing a weary British institution bang up-to-date. Its makers, too, felt it was more appropriate for the times.

One thing that unified its critics and admirers alike, however, was Daniel Craig’s incredible renaissance. The boy done good in the iconic role, and the world noticed.

A dry, muddled sequel followed in Quantum of Solace before the lauded Sam Mendes picked up the directorial reins for Skyfall and re-injected the sense of fun and frivolity that was lacking. If anything, the latest offering, Spectre, ramps it up a gear, to produce the purest Bond movie of the Craig era.

The plot centres around mysterious organisation, Spectre. When Bond receives a cryptic message from a trusted source and acts on it, he’s drawn into an investigation that uncovers a deep-seated conspiracy with far-reaching consequences for the UK’s national security and the Double-O programme.

At two-and-a-half hours long, there’s barely a minute in it that seems excess to requirements, thanks in no small part to the gloriously, camply evil Christoph Waltz as Franz Oberhauser. An absorbing balance of action, intrigue, romance, fun and cod psychology keeps things pacy.

With elements of, in particular, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Spectre is a throwback to Bond of old, with its gadgets, girls (namely Monica Bellucci and Léa Seydoux) and gags, as well as implausible plot points, cartoonish villains and iconic
character references.

Detailing more about James Bond’s back story, the film also makes shocking revelations that help us to understand the complex relationship with his archenemy and make the film’s conclusion somewhat poignant.

With relentless entertainment – it’s got car chases, explosions, razed buildings, cool gadgets, running after baddies, a sockless nemesis, a fight in a helicopter, an eyeball gouging incident and more – it has all the ingredients for a classic of the franchise. But it does make you wonder where they can go from here. A new Bond perhaps? Move over, Daniel Craig…

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