November 6, 2015 148 minutes PG-13

A satisfying continuation of this “modernized” franchise.

I’m not a fan of this new, grittier James Bond. For me, Bond should be having some fun while he’s saving the world. And Daniel Craig as “James Bond” rarely seems to be having fun. Nonetheless, ‘Spectre‘, Craig’s fourth Bond outing, provides plenty of action, style, and gravitas.

The opening ten minute tracking shot is the perfect old-school, sepia toned Mexico City introduction for this superspy’s latest adventure. Watching Bond destroy an entire city block to get his man is off the hook intense. This James Bond won’t apologize, period. Take it or leave it.

Now shunned by his superior, the highly composed “M” (Ralph Fiennes), Bond is forced to pursue his latest mission vendetta with little support. Thankfully, “M’s” trusty assistant Moneypenny (Naomi Harris) and gadget maestro “Q” (Ben Whislaw) are onboard this runaway train.

It doesn’t take long for Bond to discover the presence of a dangerous and powerful worldwide group lurking in the shadows, SPECTRE. And like a pit bull on a scent he runs in without restraint.

The “new” Bond nemesis is played by goto bad guy Christoph Waltz. Waltz has a nice blend of maniacal menace and charm, but he never fully encapsulates the threat that iconic criminal mastermind “Ernst Stavro Blofeld” earned during the Sean Connery-era.

Oh, and don’t forget the Bond women: a woefully underused (and age appropriate!) Monica Bellucci and Léa Seydoux as a soft landing Vesper Lind stand in “Madeleine Swann“. While Dave Bautista pops-up as the typical monolithic Bond film henchman, riffing Robert Shaw’s steely turn in ‘From Russia with Love’. His train brawl with Bond is not to be missed.

Borrowing heavily from both within and outside this 50+ year franchise, ‘Spectre‘ offers limited surprise. Unfortunately, so much of this film pays homage to past Bond films that I spent more time looking for winks and nods then actually investing in the rather uninspired global conspiracy threat and its somewhat anti-climatic execution.

Spectre‘ isn’t a bad film, amongst all of the Bond films it’s nowhere near the bottom. There’s loads of style, abundant action, exotic locations, impeccable production and direction, grandiose performances, and plenty of thrills. Just wish it was also be a bit more fun, a bit less predictable, and a bit more, well, James Bond.


The epic scale and thrills that have kept this now 50+ year-old franchise going, once again, has us on the edge of our seats. However, a heavily borrowed plot and a general lack of fun reduces overall satisfaction.

About the Author
Chad Schulz