I saw my first James Bond film when I was only 7 years old. The film was “From Russia With Love,” and even though I had absolutely no idea what was going on, I was entranced by the entire atmosphere of the film and wanted ever so badly to be James Bond wen I grew up. As I grew older, I watched more and more of the Sean Connery and Roger Moore era Bond films and fell in love with the likes of “Live and Let Die,” “Dr. No,” and the quintessential “Goldfinger.” The gadgets, the action, and the villians: none of it was equaled by any other action film I had ever seen. The James Bond series had hit some low points during the Pierce Brosnan era, however, and I started to doubt the longevity of this franchise. Thankfully, in 2006, Jesus came down from heaven to save the James Bond franchise in the form of Daniel Craig.
With the introduction of Craig as the new James Bond, the franchise was completely revamped and revitalized. Taking a step away from the gadgets and extreme action sequences, “Casino Royale,” portrayed Bond as an emotionally cold, intense, and hard-nose badass that he had never been portrayed like before. With a greater focus on the story and less on the silly gadget nonsense, “Casino Royale” became a film that stood out as one of the best in the decade and seriously gives “Goldfinger” a run for its money as the best Bond film of all time.
Although “Quantum of Solace” had its rough patches, it was still entertaining and was as emotionally driven as its predecessor, and in “Skyfall,” was saw a completely different style of James Bond film that would redefine what we have come to know and love about this famous 00 agent. I have loved the entirety of the James Bond films under Criag’s guidance, but there was always a part of me that missed the James Bond style of old. I enjoy the emotionally deep and complex James Bond, but part of me misses the lunacy of Brosnan, the charm of Moore and the overall grandeur of Connery.
“Spectre”, thankfully, is a film that returns James Bond back to the roots of old. Yes, it is a very formulaic James Bond film and follows a predictable storyline that will be annoying to some critics and movie connoisseurs, but those who complain about that have missed the overall point of the film in my mind. This isn’t supposed to another emotionally driven James Bond, despite what the trailers may allude to. This film, rather, is a testament; a testament to everything that is classic James Bond. The gadgets, ludicrous action, and tenacious villains are back in full force. Evil henchmen, sexy Bond women, and cheesy one-liners are ever present and I couldn’t be more happy about it. One of the things that has been missing from the most recent James Bond film is a good henchman, and with “Spectre” we finally get one in Mr. Hinx.
Is it as good as “Casino Royale” or “Skyfall”? No, and granted it is far from the quality of those two films. But that doesn’t matter to me Ultimately, this film feels like one last thrill ride of a hoorah for Daniel Craig. He did an incredible job with restoring the public’s faith in the series, and it was time for him to celebrate his work with a film that is just plain fun and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. The brilliant opening sequence, glorious action, amazing set pieces, and references to the Bond films of old are all good enough to cover up the problem-filled script. This film won’t go down as one of the best James Bond films, but it is the perfect film for the time in which it was made. After watching this film, I felt like I did when I first watched “From Russia with Love,” I felt like a giddy seven-year-old boy. All I have left to say is this: Thank you and job well done Daniel Craig, you have made this young film lover proud.
Spectre (2015): 3/4 stars