Spectre Review

 

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     What could I possibly say at this point to convince you whether or not to see Spectre?

     It’s been almost a full week that it has been in theaters and by now you’ve already made up your mind. However, if you are a fan of the Bond franchise, more specifically, the Daniel Craig era, then you won’t want to miss this. I also know that if you answered “yes” to the aforementioned question, you probably have already seen it.

     What started as the central conflict in Casino Royale and has slowly spilled over into the past two Bond films reaches a semi-conclusion with Spectre. I say semi only because at the end of the credits it does state that James Bond will return and I know that Daniel Craig signed a five picture deal with MGM. This gives him one last film in which to carry the Bond name and to be quite honest creates a little bit of intrigue as to where they could go next based on how Spectre ended.

     Spectre checks all of the Bond boxes: beautiful locations, even more beautiful women, exquisite clothing and exciting action sequences. From the very beginning, the Craig era has been known to undertake an elaborate chase scene in all of its opening shots and Spectre is no exception. Director Sam Mendes chose to go with a long tracking shot which is to resemble a “one-shot” resulting in a crazy battle inside a helicopter over an entire downtown square filled with thousands of people. All of this before the credits began with Sam Smith’s, “Writing on the Wall” being sung.

     Other action pieces have Bond in a fancy sports car doing fancy sports car things while also finding himself in a large cargo plane doing large cargo plane things (all while walking away without hardly a scratch). Sure there are more, but to spoil or even attempt to dissect them would dilute the journey that viewing them creates. Just understand that they are very well shot but somehow are still not as memorable as Bond’s past chases or fights – the end battle of Skyfall or the opening parkour chase from Casino Royal come to mind.

     The story from the previous three Bond films collectively and over the course of Spectre and is something I found myself falling more into as the steady progression occurred rather than simply the action, gadgets or women. The common thread being that a shady and secret organization is behind most world disasters which is basically serving as a black mirror to what our government intelligence organizations are today and how they are striving to literally control every single facet of information for every nation in the world. I know, it’s a somewhat beaten dead horse, however, if you are able to stand back and truly take in the network that all of these films have strived to create by building off one another and eventually leading both Bond and you, the viewer, to the themes presented in Spectre it truly is a major accomplishment. It is because of this that I enjoyed Spectre even more because it sought to not only answer questions we’ve had since Casino Royal but also to put an endgame to some of the larger moving pieces that have been circling in each film. The callbacks to the previous films were something I absolutely loved because for the first time Bond actually felt grounded in some semi-reality by following a narrative that has him searching for answers that have taken years to be revealed. This allows the payoff in the end to feel earned and shows the scope of all of Bond’s previous conflicts rolled into this one defining moment for him which is truly exciting.

     I still feel strange admitting that the story was the main reason I loved this movie. I think we all can understand that the story is furthest from anyone’s minds when seeing any movie from this franchise. Looking back, they have managed to take pages out of what Nolan’s Batman series has managed to do with the character, by grounding him in some sort of reality where everything is not wrapped up in two and a half hours as well as Marvel, which is the sense of a larger narrative being told over the course of several films (in the case with Craig, hopefully five movies). If the Craig legacy is to leave anything for the future of the franchise to build off of it is that a great conflict can be unfolded over the course of time rather than giving immediate gratification by  restarting with each new film. These films have managed to successfully accomplish this. Specifically, Spectre has managed to close a beautifully told story while still not allowing for every string to be completely tied up so as if to let a little bit of uncertainty and mystery stay present with the character and what actions or repercussions could come next.

     All in all, I really enjoyed Spectre and would recommend seeing it in theaters if you already haven’t or were unsure about spending money on opening weekend. The fact that it has been out for a little bit is even more appealing, not only for the matinee price, but the availability of an empty theater where you can truly digest the movie and focus on it’s long narrative that it tells extremely well. Then again, if you’re unsure, you can always wait two years until it comes on TV…

4 GARYS

Gary4

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