The latest installment to the Daniel Craig era of the James Bond franchise is entitled simply: ‘Spectre’. Which, you will go on to find out, is the name of secret organisation responsible for orchestrated terrorist attacks around the globe.
The problem for director Sam Mendes was how to follow Skyfall- the UK box office record-breaker and some would say the best 007 film yet. Well, Mendes’ solution was to keep the exact same creative team but throw in a bigger budget, more locations, more cars, more explosions and a humdinger of a cast.
Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw return to their roles as M, Moneypenny and Q. Christoph Waltz enters the fray as a classic creepy Bond villain by the name of Franz Oberhauser. Andrew Scott makes a superb 007 debut as the slippery British intelligence and surveillance expert Max Denbigh aka C. Meanwhile, French actress Lea Seydoux portrays the feisty gun-toting psychologist Madeleine Swann well but at times feels less like a Bond girl and more like the token empowering, ‘kick-ass’ female character. Small roles from Monica Bellucci as the alluring widow of an assassin and Dave Bautista as a Spectre heavy also feature.
The film spans through various locations around the world from Mexico City to Rome and the Austrian Alps to Tangier. We end up back in London of course, on the banks of the Thames for a gripping finale.
Spectre seems to bring Daniel Craig’s run as 007 to a fitting finale- the loose ends left behind by the gripping Casino Royale, slightly less memorable Quantum of Solace, and the phenomenal Skyfall being nicely tied up in a bow.
The 24th Bond film provides bulletproof Aston Martins, exploding watches, Martinis (shaken not stirred), a villain’s lair inside a crater in the desert and even the largest movie explosion ever. Aside from that, it offers much-welcome, bigger roles to Ralph Fiennes and Ben Whishaw. It uses classic Bond cliches but making them feel fresh rather than tired. Spectre is a film of epic proportions, raising the bar even higher than its predecessor did.
Throughout, Daniel Craig is as hard as nails and smooth when he needs to be as ever. It will be a shame to see this legendary 007 go and he’s certainly piled the pressure onto his successor.