Movie Review: Spectre

If you frequent my blog you know I am not fond of the 007 series and the spy genre in general, unless it is Archer or Secret Warriors. Rogue Nation and Man from UNCLE were pretty good, but I have never liked Bond and I do not understand why he is so popular. I would rather skip the infiltration scenes, the tension of maintaining cover, and the digressions with beautiful women in favor of the action and gadgets with nothing in between. It is not that each entry is the same because you can apply that logic to all movies. I just do not find them fun or interesting. I am familiar with the Daniel Craig films, but Spectre will be judged on its own merits. Was it another run-of-the-mill 007 movie or have I been converted?

Following a clue left by the previous M, Bond, played by Daniel Craig, discovers a plot that involves the world’s intelligence agencies. He goes deeper into what it all means and finds a connection he never expected.

If you have seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier, you have seen Spectre. Point for point it is the same exact movie, with the same themes, number of action scenes, and character motivations. The only difference is Spectre is duller than a monochrome butter knife. Though I am not a fan, I cannot imagine anyone passingly familiar with 007 would find this a worthy entry.

A consistent air of apathy permeates throughout. Nobody, from the actors to the production, cared about making a good movie. They sauntered through the process in a state of unconsciousness, casually putting together boring action scenes devoid of excitement, and reading lines like priests at Catholic mass. Spectre is such a lazy movie that rather than do its own thing, it steals from those better while uncharacteristically remaking itself. There is a twist at the end that contradicts what the series is known for and what the Daniel Craig movies have done so far. The reveal scene was also the worst part as it is basically this from the mouth of a two-time Academy award winner.

The whole movie drags its feet from one point to another with no regard for pacing, stretching the runtime to an unbearable 148 minutes. Story moments that would have resolved themselves quickly meander about and take their sweet time getting to the point. It deliberately withholds information to keep you in your seat, even as it gives everything away in the minute details. But when the movie comes full circle, we already know what is going on, and it plays it off like a surprise. And when you think it is all over, another ending comes in like it was shoved into the final cut last minute.

The action scenes are the most underwhelming I have ever seen in any movie. They make the go-cart chases in Space Mutiny look like Fury Road. In the first pursuit sequence, halfway through Bond and his prey decide to walk as if to catch their breath before continuing. The ensuing “fight” is kind of cool, but feels generic and one-note with its use of helicopter stunts that get old really fast. It never felt exciting, nor did the other sequences.

The acting is the definition of phoned-in performances. Everyone was tired and disinterested, going through the motions so they could move on to better movies. Craig did not care in the slightest, probably because it was his last 007 movie. Christoph Waltz left his charisma at the door as Oberhauser, making for his most disinterested performance yet. Lea Seydoux was practically invisible as the traditional Bond Girl archetype Madeleine. Ralph Finnes’ M sucked, Ben Wishaw’s Q was sleep inducing, and Naomie Harris was wasted as Moneypenny. The worst was Andrew Scott who was so callous in hiding that his character is a bad guy (spoiler, whatever) I figured it out upon his introduction.

Spectre did not make me angry. It did not inspire the vitriol I feel for movies like Taken 3, Transporter: Refueled, and Agent 47. It is so utterly worthless I cannot work up the energy to hate it. It has no purpose as a 007 entry or a regular movie for that matter. To all fans of the series, I feel sorry for you. Watch Archer instead. If you want to see the same premise done correctly, there is a no more perfect example than Winter Soldier.

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