After the success of Skyfall, fans of OO7 were thrilled to hear the next installment of the franchise would focus on classic Bond villain Ernest Stavro Blofeld and his evil organization Spectre. The events from the previous film set things up nicely to revisit the classic Bond story and having two-time Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz cast as the Number 1 villain seemed like a dream come true for Bond aficionados. Alas, the best way to describe the final product in Spectre is wasted potential.
Spectre starts out as most Bond films do with a big action piece that leads into the trippy opening credits with a song from Sam Smith. This time around the movie starts with chaos in Mexico City involving explosions and a fight inside a moving helicopter all while the Day of the Dead festivities are happening. After the incredible opening train sequence in Skyfall, you would have assumed director Sam Mendes and star Daniel Craig would up the ante to kick things off, but the commencement in Spectre is quite ordinary and vanilla for this franchise. This lame duck open sets the tone for the rest of the film.
Most of Spectre is spent with Bond leaping from different global locales looking for clues that will help uncover the mystery of the secret organization and its leader. Unfortunately, none of the plot points along the way are explained to the audience leaving them in the dark and unable to enjoy the ride. There are some car chases and fisticuffs with Dave Bautista taking on the classic role as henchman Mr. Hinx, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before in Bond films. The conflict in Spectre is quite ordinary and feels long and drawn out over the two-hour and thirty minute running time. Director Sam Mendes could have easily lost a good thirty minutes with meaningless characters like Monica Bellucci’s widow wife.
The main problem with Spectre is it’s mismanagement of Christoph Waltz as the big baddie Blofeld. Spoiler Alert! The head of Spectre doesn’t really become a factor on-screen until the third act of the film and remember it’s two and half hours long. Waltz is an acting force who can make you hang on his every word so that fact he is absent for most of the film is a colossal waste of talent. The same thing could be said about Bautista who shined last year in Guardians of the Galaxy with his deadpan humor. The former wrestler is only give one line in the entire film and essentially plays a thug. No depth is given to any of our villains which hurts the overall product where villains are key to the movie’s success.
Spectre is a beautifully shot film, but lacks the substance that makes it a special experience. The film has way too many dots to connect and gets lost in its own plot patterns. Plus, for a film that cost a reported $300 million dollars to make, there’s nothing on film that warranted the price tag of Spectre. It’s the worst case of mismanaged budget in correlation to the finished result visually since Superman Returns. Spectre isn’t Dalton era bad, but it is a waste of time, money and talent that cares more about setting up the next film that will hopefully be the Spectre film fans had hoped for if Daniel Craig decides to stick around for more Bond.
Overall, I give Spectre 2.25 out of 4 stars.