It’s difficult not to look at Spectre without considering its place within the long-running James Bond franchise and Daniel Craig’s body of work as the iconic secret agent. Whether this is Craig’s final go around playing the role or not (recent comments seem to suggest it is,) this film is quintessentially his and wraps up many of the threads that’d been lingering for three movies now. Craig’s Bond is known for a casual coldness he brings to the role. Less wink and a nod and more too cool for school when it comes to acknowledging the challenge of being an international super spy. He’s liable to kiss the girl then walk out on the roof for a leisurely stroll to pop a terrorist in the head and do it without seeming cold or mechanical. The bit of sandpaper he brings to the suit-and-tie spy role is all over Spectre amidst collapsing buildings, helicopter fight sequences and some excellent set pieces. Throughout this film Bond simply does his job and that refusal to be self-aware is really a big part of the charm. Spectre hits all the beats the previous three films have hit and while none of them ever feel like they have worn out their welcome, there are some cases where it’ll be difficult to mine them again. One trend that this movie continues is pulling back the mythic quality of its hero to make Bond more of a man than a superhero. Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall have all seen him challenged and driven by some kind of personal tragedy that has made his coldness understandable and palatable. That continues in this movie, with a familiar face motivating his insubordination and propelling this current adventure. The big difference in this movie though, is that it seems much of what this character went through has taken its toll and there is an air of desperation and a tinge of “nothing to lose” to every action. It’s compelling to watch and that tension is what separates Spectre from typical action movie fair. The other trend, that feels a little bit worn at this point, is an inferiority complex that drives the plot of Spectre. This Bond continuously has his own relevance and profession questioned and that continues with the looming question of whether the 00 program is needed in the ever automated world of global intelligence. Where Skyfall questions the man, Spectre questions the organization and despite the relevance of these big picture themes in this day and age, it’s not as interesting because Bond doesn’t really have that chip on his shoulder this time around. He already proved that he had it last time so there’s little doubt about his ability to save the day in this movie. Two other Bond movie staples take on more personal relevance in Spectre — the villain and the girl. Bond villains are often garish, over the top and megalomaniacal, while the Bond girl is always beautiful and supernaturally attracted to the hero. The broad-brush nature of these two character types are at odds with the current more nuanced Bond and this movie struggles to stick with tradition, while at the same time making them fit with the current version. Christoph Waltz certainly plays the part of a Bond villain. Blofeld appropriately displaying all the tendencies you’d come to expect from a super villain. Léa Seydoux also does the same in her role as the bond girl Madeline Swann, but the attempt to draw a personal connection to Bond in both cases falls flat. Blofeld is a looming presence throughout the film and a constant threat that skulks in the background rather than being out front, which makes sense in the movie, but it comes at the expense of emotional impact down the line. The character simply needed to be developed more given his relation to the hero. Swann suffers from the same problem, though to a lesser degree. At least she and Bond share quite a few scenes together and develop enough of a relationship for the payoff to make sense. Spectre could be looked at as either the end or beginning of something. It’s the first of Craig’s Bond movies that felt familiar all the way through and on that level felt wholly satisfying, but on the other hand there’s little left of this character to explore and flesh out. Ultimately, that back story and history is what defined this Bond. He’ll be just another Bond in subsequent movies and if that’s the future, perhaps this is an appropriate place for his tenure to end. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.