Spectre review: full of action but lacks emotional oomph

Daniel Craig in a scene from the movie Spectre.
Daniel Craig in a scene from the movie Spectre. Stephen Vaughan

SPECTRE, the name of the latest James Bond Film, is a fitting one.

As well fitting, in fact, as Daniel Craig's exquisitely tailored suits.

A word meaning a threat, ghost, menace or phantom, Spectre describes the threats faced by Bond and the entire 00 program in the new film.

The 24th instalment in the Bond franchise has everything you want: fight scenes, car chases, explosions, beautiful women and dry British humour.

The two and a half hour film plays out in chapters that each have their own distinct feelings and palettes depending on the location.

Mexico City is colourful, crowded, chaotic, while the Austrian Alps are cold, monochrome, desolate and Rome is classically beautiful.

The opening sequence in Mexico, set during the Day of the Dead (Dia de Muertos) celebrations, deserves particular mention.

Daniel Craig in a scene from the movie Spectre.
Daniel Craig in a scene from the movie Spectre. Contributed

Mendes' use of elaborately choreographed stunts, rather than CGI, is on full display as Bond gingerly walks along the edge of a building and then minutes later is wrestling with a bad guy in a helicopter spinning out of control above a crowd of thousands of revellers.

Craig's fourth outing as 007 sees him strengthen his bond with his new team: Ralph Fiennes as M, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny and Ben Whishaw as Q.

Spectre also delves deeper into Bond's back story, picking up the pieces of his childhood uncovered by Skyfall.

His past is used to taunt him (by Christoph Waltz as a fabulously menacing criminal mastermind) and there are a few points where it feels like Bond may truly not be in control.

One man tells Bond he's "like a kite dancing in a hurricane".

The steadying force in the storm takes the form of Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux), who proves herself to be anything but a damsel in distress as she helps Bond pursue their common enemy - a sinister, global organisation helmed by Waltz as Oberhauser.

Christoph Waltz and Lea Seydoux in a scene from Spectre.
Christoph Waltz and Lea Seydoux in a scene from Spectre. Jonathan Olley

For all its glorious action and cinematography, I didn't feel as emotionally invested in Bond while watching Spectre as I did with Skyfall.

Spectre is still a great film and in many ways ties up the events of the past three films in a neat bow - but a bow that's too neat.

The big question is, what will Bond and Craig do next?

Spectre opens nationally today.

Topics:  daniel craig james bond spectre

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