The time has come: the 25th James Bond film is now out in theaters everywhere, meaning Spectre is finally available for mass consumption. The anticipation around this one was maybe more pronounced than the last few given how well Skyfall was received. With that film, director Sam Mendes successfully tackled the issue of how someone like James Bond fits into the 21st century while also imbuing the film with plenty of nods to the franchise’s long, rich history. It was, for many, one of the best James Bond films of all time, so for Mendes to come back and helm the follow-up was a big deal.
Unfortunately, Spectre is something of a mixed bag and doesn’t come close to reaching the highs of Skyfall. It has one of the best opening sequences in recent memory, and while much of the first two thirds of the film is engaging, there’s this prevailing feeling that you’re being set up for disappointment. And then the other shoe drops in the final act and, well, to put it bluntly: they Star Trek Into Darkness’d it. Where Skyfall was this wonderful acknowledgment of the films that have come before, Spectre pushes things too far into “homage” territory, giving us an obvious twist, a nonsensical/boring villain, and a massively frustrating retcon of the Daniel Craig Bond films thus far.
The ending/villain isn’t the only major problem with Spectre: many of the action sequences feel lethargic and dull, story beats drop in and out with little thought given to how they affect the film as a whole, and there’s a half-hearted attempt at a love story that falls flat despite some characteristically swell work from Lea Seydoux. The film isn’t entirely without merit, and as I said, it’s somewhat compelling for most of its runtime, but it absolutely pales in comparison to Skyfall, whose greatest asset was its clear thematic throughline.
But enough of my rambling. Matt’s full review is on the site, but now we want to hear from you, readers. What did you think of Spectre? Was it a satisfying follow-up to Skyfall? Did you find that Mendes and Craig found ways to improve on Skyfall, or were you similarly disappointed? Sound off in the comments below.