From the looks of the early reviews submitted to Rotten Tomatoes, Spectre will be another successful addition to the James Bond film franchise. Right now, Spectre has a RT score of 77%, 34 out of the 44 that released reviews of Spectre gave it a fresh rating. That seems pretty good right? Well I think some fans of the recent Bond films may be a little disappointed, because many of the reviews seem to signal a return to the old Bond formula.
Sam Mendes chose explosions, pg-13 lady parts, and wit in favor of gritty realism. Wendy Ide of TheWrap wrote that Spectre is “All about the set pieces. Character development and dialogue both come in at a distant joint second place.” I’m a little worried about Ide’s complaint about the dialogue, because dialogue is a central focus of James Bond films. What’s the point of being a slick secret agent if you can’t show it off with your charisma? I have absolutely zero problem with that, Bond is meant to be fun and entertaining. The fun of Bond is that we don’t have to deal with the consequences of his actions. When we watch Bond answer for his mistakes, he just becomes a glorified Jason Bourne. When I think of the perfect 007 film, I think Goldeneye, Goldfinger, and The World Is Not Enough. All three of those had spectacular action, writing, and characters. I like my Bond villains creative as well, Xenia Onatopp would squeeze the homoerotic Raoul Silva(Javier Bardem in Skyfall) to death.
Although I prefer a suave and comical James Bond, many do not feel the same way. Bond was rebooted after Die Another Day because audiences had grown tired of the same old formula, and that reboot began with the massively successful Casino Royale. Casino Royale was critically acclaimed because of its reinvention of James Bond. The biggest mistake made during the new era of Bond was to continue a plot point from Casino Royale to Quantam of Solace. Bond had to find out who killed his lover and I couldn’t care less about it. When I watch a Bond film I don’t want to care about the supporting characters like the new era Bond films want me to, it just doesn’t work.
Let’s get to the greatest film in cinema history, Skyfall. Bond “died” and “went off the grid” for the millionth time, but wait I guess the film is so gritty that it makes it okay to just throw creativity out the window. The villain in Skyfall was played admirably by Bardem, but I just feel like this villain was forgettable. The worst part of Skyfall is a glaring flaw near the end. Mendes preaches realism, but then ends up giving us one of the most glaring flaws in a movie in years. When Bond is running to save M, he kicks an enemy in the face and then keeps running. Bond had no weapon but surely he was so high on adrenaline that he forgot to pick up the assault rifle that his kick-buddy dropped. If Bond had picked up the weapon, he just might’ve had enough time to save M. This ruined Skyfall because it’s such a simple flaw that could’ve been fixed, and the mistake caused a character that I didn’t care about to die.
I’m looking forward to Spectre, it should be a heavily enjoyable film just as long as it doesn’t fall victim to Skyfallitis.