One of the world’s longest-running film franchises returned to theaters recently with its newest installment. “Spectre,” the 24th James Bond film that has been produced by Eon Productions, is the fourth film with Daniel Craig in the title role. Having had critical and commercial success with the production of a previous Bond film in 2012, Craig and Director Sam Mendes brought their A-game and put on a show worthy of toppling other fall blockbusters.
Craig has obviously settled into his niche as the James Bond character, his last Bond film being “Skyfall,” which grossed a staggering $1.1 billion in the box office. Other powerhouse actors featured include Ralph Fiennes as the new “M,” succeeding Judi Dench for the role. Two-time Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz portrays Ernst Stavro Blofeld, a super villain created by James Bond creator and author Ian Fleming. Other regulars include Ben Whishaw as “Q” and Naomie Harris as Eve Moneypenny.
This is not the first time Blofeld has caused havoc for Bond. Dealings with the criminal organization Spectre first began in the second film “From Russia with Love” in 1963 up until the seventh in the series, “Diamonds Are Forever,” which was released in 1971. Blofeld, the organization’s leader, has returned to the screen as a tie-in to the previous villains Craig’s character has had to face in recent years. This could be considered somewhat unoriginal for some viewers, but the writers made it work nicely.
The same mix of factors have always been added to every Bond film. In fact, there seems to be a set of guidelines that every writer, producer and director must follow in order to capture the essence of Bond. There must be irrefutable romance, a plethora of women and fine dining. There must be action at every angle, unsettling killing and clever puns, not to mention expensive cars and gadgets. It’s no question that “Spectre” follows this hypothetical set of guidelines to the letter. And what is remarkable is — like every other addition — this one sets itself apart. This starts immediately in the pre-title sequence. Who thought opening up after the signature gun barrel sequence to a scene of one of Mexico’s most popular public holidays would set the stage for a thrilling adventure?
What differentiates this film from the typical Bond movie is the turmoil within the newly-merged British intelligence agencies MI5 and MI6. This brings too many politics to a series that is supposed to remain focused on spy antics and action. This part of the story could have been triggered by a need to reinvigorate a central agency, one that has been around since the first movie appeared in 1962. Therefore, the addition of politics is understandable, yet annoying and distracting.
Every Bond fan will go see this movie simply because it’s necessary, regardless of how they feel about it. Newcomers should go see it to be introduced to one of the movie industry’s greatest franchises and the one that made a name for Eon Productions. So go see it while you can; it will be a few more years before we see the world’s greatest secret agent again.