10 November 2015 | emdeecee15
Daniel Craig's silliest Bond
The wonderful thing about the James Bond franchise is that there's always another one on the way. With its sights set on eternity, the franchise currently has 24 legitimate installments and shows no signs of slowing. This never-ending stream of films allows generations of actors and directors to tackle the character, which inevitably leads to some fantastic results – and others not so fantastic. "Spectre", the latest Bond film, fits cleanly in the middle.
As always, a Bond film thrives first and foremost on the sophistication of its lead actor, and although Daniel Craig has proved his infallible refinement in previous installments, like "Casino Royale" (2006) and "Skyfall" (2012), his talents aren't supported nearly as much in "Spectre". Here, it's almost as if Craig is playing a caricature of Bond, drinking twice as much alcohol, being twice as confident and forward with the ladies and enduring twice as many blows to the face. In other words, this is the first time in a while that a Bond film has come off as just plain silly.
That's not to say that the Bond franchise is unfamiliar with silliness. The roots of the character on-screen lie in the campy and absurd. But Craig has thus far played a very dramatic version of Bond, the most realistic of any in the franchise, and has been met with critical acclaim. So it comes as a big surprise to see that where its counterparts built something original and fresh, "Spectre" has fallen for nostalgia, bringing back the preposterous action set pieces, horribly sexist and out-of-touch female counterparts, and oddly shallow villains.
And, if I'm being honest, it's the film's primary villain that really let me down. Franz Oberhauser is as convoluted and multi-layered as any other Bond villain, but with the added kick that he's being played by Christoph Waltz, one of the best actors alive that has a real knack for playing great antagonists. But instead of using him like "Skyfall" used Silva (played by Javier Bardem), with intelligence and tact, "Spectre" leaves him literally cloaked in shadow for most of the film. But even once Oberhauser finally comes into play, he never makes much of an impression. In fact, he's pretty similar to every other villain in modern action movies – distant, cold and calculating, as formulaic as they come.
Having said all of that, I want to be as transparent as possible – all of this ridiculous silliness can be a lot of fun. Even though the film doesn't present itself in the most intelligent way, "Spectre" knows how to entertain its audience. So even though many of the action sequences are founded in faulty logic, all of them are visually spectacular. Each explosion, car chase and gunfight is handled with extreme care, and all are choreographed beautifully. There are plenty of "Did you see that?" moments, making the film an absolute riot when watching with friends.
When leaving the theater, I had to ask myself whether or not the film's sheer crudeness made it a wholly low-quality experience, and I can now answer that with a definitive no. Even though I saw through every twist and turn the film took, I was still laughing and smiling the whole way through. As absurd as it is, I had a great time watching Bond defy death time and time again whether it be in a plane, train or car, all of which exploded at one point or another. And at the end of the day, I went to see the film for the sole purpose of being entertained, right? So regardless of whether or not each piece fell neatly into place, the film deserves credit for doing its job.
This may or may not be the end of Craig's run as Bond, and if it is, then it certainly isn't the send-off I would've preferred. But, all things considered, "Spectre" isn't a bad movie; it's just a movie with the sensibilities of its cherished bygone cousins, and I can accept it for that.