James Bond is back — in pog form!

Is that… Is that Johnny English?

I like James Bond. Skyfall was brilliant, and so was Casino Royale, with Skyfall getting into the shortlist for my top ten films list; and Casino Royale isn’t far off its fantastic quality.

Daniel Craig does a great Bond, and he never fails to deliver at the helm of British heroism. In this new Bond film, he’s just as good as he’s ever been as 007. Along with him, of course, is a fantastic cast: including Andrew Scott, Dave Bautista, Cristoph Waltz, Ben Whishaw and Ralph Fiennes. Of course, Daniel Craig’s portrayal as Bond is the stand out performance, but some of the other cast was almost just as impressive; with Dave Bautista, especially, playing an exceptionally brutish wrestler man.

However, Cristoph Waltz’ performance was a little disappointing. He played the main villain in the piece, Blofeld, who was the recurring super villain in older films: you know, the one with the cat. However, after a long time waiting for the appearance of a proper villain in Spectre, he eventually showed himself: and as an odd mix of Silva from Skyfall and Blofeld from older films. Unfortunately, this twisting of the character all seemed like a failed attempt to bring back Silva – who was a fantastic villain – but with Cristoph Waltz, and an old villain to get everyone nostalgic. He was a decent villain in his own right, and Waltz was far from bad; but it’s disappointing they tried to recreate an old villain (Silva) – and failed to do his sort of thing with the same acting quality or that brilliant sinister air Javier Bardem brought to his character. Also, there’s a pretty predictable moment further on into the film that just made me cringe; although it was a pretty good scene.

I’m good, but I’m no Silva.

However, the whole story that Blofeld is in the middle of is a great one, and one that sees Bond go from the terrorist threatened streets of Mexico City – and, by the way, all the Day of the Dead stuff makes for a good starting place and gives it a sinister air – to Rome and to Austria. But *Sort of spoiler alert* it all ends in London, which is a little too predictable, really. But yeah, the story’s great – and there’s great sets -, and keeps the film ticking, dropping hints and confusing James Bond himself — even though a few small things are left unexplained, and there’s some pretty damn unbelievable crap here and there… But it’s a Bond film! And an action film! And a blockbuster! So I think it can be forgiven – even if that’s just because it means there’s some pretty awesome explosions.

Action. Yeah, there’s tonnes of it. And that’s brilliant. No, seriously! Dave Bautista really keeps these parts ticking as well, with some pretty violent stuff – such as EYES BEING POPPED OUT; and he keeps Bond under pressure and, well, it makes for some fantastic fight scenes. I think, actually, Spectre concentrates more on the action and excitement more than Skyfall and Casino Royale — but it’s a lot better better than Quantum of Solace, and so is the story telling. Consequently, it’s a brilliantly entertaining film.

What’s that? An explosion? Yes!

Spectre’s story telling may be better than that of Quantum of Solace, but it ain’t as good as Casino Royale or Skyfall, unfortunately. Yeah, it’s got a good story, but it all seems like it’s been done before – at least in similar context. Also, the script is noticeably weaker than that of Skyfall and Casino Royale, with some tacked on lines here and there. Nonetheless, it’s not a bad script, far from it, and the story is good — just not as good as the high heights of the aforementioned Bond films before it (not counting Quantum of Solace, though). But the action is probably improved. And that’s very important for an action film. It’s just a bit disappointing some of the ideas in the film aren’t particularly inspired and — who’s The Pale King!? It wasn’t really explained, but it somehow led to the main crux of the story in which Bond protected his daughter from the SPECTRE gang. But the film’s forgiven because of its blockbuster status once again, because it really does deliver on the entertainment front – although it may leave a few things unexplained or undeveloped.

Ah! Characters, thanks, Pale King! Time to talk about a couple more of them. Firstly, there’s Max Denbigh, or C, who’s acted by Andrew Scott (that’s your cue, Sherlock fans!). He’s a snotty nosed member of the government who attempts to ruin everything on the sidelines. Andrew Scott plays him well, but his character’s a victim of some rubbish lines. Then there’s Dr Swann, portrayed by Léa Seydoux; who’s this film’s classic “Bond girl”. She’s actually great, and plays an important character: who is the subject of a twist at the end! *SPOILER ALERT (sort of)* She survives at the end.

M is for Moron? Why? You didn’t need to say that! And then C is for… Careless!? Wait, does that count as a spoiler? Oh well, the deed’s been done.

And finally, there’s all the other stuff. The cinematography is good, but no Dark Knight. The sets are great, and the sound is fantastic – classic 007 stuff which makes the hairs stand up on your neck. And, oh yeah! The new M is great – played by Ralph Fiennes.

Verdict:

Spectre makes for a brilliant action blockbuster, and a great Bond film; with Daniel Craig being the star of a good cast. The action’s fantastic, and the sound and sets are great; though the story telling is inconsistent – certainly not as good as that in Skyfall and Casino Royale at least – and the script isn’t as good as in those two.  Furthermore, Christoph Waltz’ performance as Blofeld seemed too much of a failed attempt to recreate Javier Bardem’s portrayal of Silva, and some of the ideas in the film weren’t too inspired. However, nothing in the film I’d say was bad, far from that; and more concentration on the action made for a fantastically entertaining film and probably one of the best this year, albeit not quite as good as some of its predecessors.

So I give it: 80/100.

– Speedy.

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