I watched four 2015 films in the movie theater last year (which is a lot for me). Three of them were spy-themed! (The fourth was that thing with the dinosaur in it.) I’m not actually that into spy flicks; that’s just how things ended up whenever I went to the theater. But regardless, they can be fun, and they can be reviewed on Sharkberg. Let’s start with the latest entry in the most famous spy film franchise of them all: James Bond, in… Spectre.
I’ll start by saying that I have seen a few James Bond movies and I’m generally all right with them (and the spy sub-genre in general), but I’m not a die-hard fan. I usually end up forgetting which film is what, as they tend to have the same sort of plot. This is not anything unique to spy films though; you get this with heist films, buddy cop films, and so on. Blockbusters! Sometimes we just want to be entertained for a couple hours and have an excuse to buy some Oreo churros.
So how does Spectre hold up? Well, as I alluded to, it was pretty straightforward stuff. James Bond has to deal with a sinister organization that’s responsible for all the terrible things happening in the world, all while putting up with political efforts trying to shut down the secret service he is a part of. It’s… the same plot as Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. Which aired first. (And which I saw first.) I’ll be reviewing that one next time, but my point for now is that Spectre ended up feeling like a rehash of Rogue Nation plot-wise. Even the set of characters in each film felt rather the same (a similar setup for the lead lady in both, and the sidekick computer guys for each had similar personalities). The leads at least are pretty different, and I did like the struggle portrayed for Bond as he’s getting on in his years.
Unfortunately the acting felt by-the-numbers. Just a rather “business as usual” sort of tone for everything, and the story overall felt disjointed. There are decent bits of action, but not enough emotional investment in any of the characters. There is an attempt made to establish a connection between Bond and the antagonist of this film (who I’ll kindly keep a secret), but for me it all fell flat. There wasn’t enough screen time for the antagonist to give the big confrontations of the final act the weight they needed.
All in all, Spectre isn’t what I’d call a bad movie, but for me at least it is a forgettable one. There was only one part that really stood out to me, and that was the opening scene. James Bond has to fight a man in a helicopter, and it’s pretty awesome. Probably the most intense action sequence I saw in theaters last year, actually–so credit where credit’s due! Too bad that had to be right at the beginning? It set a high bar for the rest of the film, which the following two acts weren’t able to deliver on.