Review: “Spectre”

James Bond is back, but can the film match it's massive hype?

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Logan Peterson

After much anticipation from fans and audiences, super-spy James Bond has finally returned in “Spectre,” a Bond film that lacks the ingenuity of previous entries, but still packs a wicked punch.

Daniel Craig returns as Bond, but something has changed. He’s no longer brooding and vulnerable like he was in “Skyfall” and “Casino Royale”; he is now witty and cynical, with a more biting sense of humor. His previous performances were obviously more magnetic, but it’s still a nice change of pace. He’s drenched in sarcasm, going back to the days of Sean Connery.

“Spectre” starts fast from the get-go and doesn’t look back. The opening sequence takes place during a gorgeously shot Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico City, and Bond is back to his old antics, pursuing both bad guys and beautiful women.

Several helicopter battles and car chases later, Bond is at the hand of a new foe: Frans Oberhauser. Played by Christoph Waltz, Oberhauser is the leader of a sinister organization known as SPECTRE, whose goal is total global domination. Sounds pretty formulaic right?

The biggest weakness of the film is the villain. Waltz as the enigmatic Oberhauser is a failure in terms of both the performance and characterization. Waltz never really gets past the conniving, twisting of the mustache villainy. His performance plays too close to his role in “Inglourious Basterds,” only nowhere near as iconic.

As a whole, the screenplay never found the right footing. There was too much emphasis on paying homage to previous Bond installments. We understand that it’s enjoyable to have little winking references to Bond lore, but there comes a point where enough is enough. I became tired after the first few a-ha moments, although they never stopped coming.

The pitfalls of the screenplay couldn’t get in the way of the amazing actions. From the aforementioned opening sequence to a vicious train fight, this film features some of the most extravagant and chill inducing action sequences that the series has ever seen. The film is action film nirvana, and watching Bond as a globetrotting assassin is truly a feast for the eyes.

But of course, a Bond film is only as good as it’s leading lady, and “Spectre” features the beautiful and talented Lea Seydoux as Madeleine Swann. Seydoux plays the most elegant and relaxed Bond girl since Vesper Lynd in “Casino Royale.” She exudes many feminist qualities which make her a character of depth and understanding. She’s not just another girl that Bond would just drop throw away; she’s a woman that can relate to Bond on every level.

The lack of a good screenplay and weak villain handicap “Spectre” from becoming a great film. Though, the chemistry between Craig and Seydoux mixed the visual fireworks makes for a fun and memorable Bond entry.

Grade: B