Wow, I watched Spectre maybe a week and a half ago, almost immediately after watching Skyfall (2012), but it somehow completely escaped my mind to write a review for it. So without further ado, let’s just get straight into it. While I did overall enjoy Spectre and found it to be an entertaining action spy thriller, in comparison to its marvelous predecessor, Skyfall, this fourth instalment was definitely lacking. With the return of Daniel Craig and other familiar faces like Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, there were some new additions including Léa Seydoux, Christoph Waltz, and Dave Bautista. While the cast put on some great performances, the pacing and storytelling suffered a bit in its execution.

As it seems with all Bond films, Spectre opens up with a huge spectacle in its opening sequence. With bomb explosions and a nose-diving helicopter, I guess you could say it’s pretty intense right off the bat. What I like about these flashy Bond entrances is that it really just throws you into the movie without much warning or explanation – you never really know what’s going on until it’s explained later on, but it’s certainly a fun way to set up audience expectations heading in. And one thing Spectre did do well at was the action; there was a large variety of action in this particular entry, ranging from thrilling car chases reminiscent of Fast and Furious films, nail-biting hand to hand combat fighting, and large, explosive battle sequences. What I’ve learned from finally viewing these Bond films is that when it comes to Daniel Craig, you can always rely on him for some solid and well choreographed action.

But while Spectre did succeed in providing exhilarating moments of intensity and excitement, I found the pacing to be a bit dodgy, meaning it felt like it took a long time before the movie finally started heading somewhere. With this film in particular, there’s a lot of mystery surrounding the enemy organization, Spectre, so a majority of the plot was watching Bond solve clues and working with the unknown. While this could’ve been used to their advantage to create a really engaging and mysterious thriller, instead the story was rather stagnant. There wasn’t much depth to the story and it wasn’t nearly as exciting as I’d hoped it to be. There were huge sections in the middle where little development was made and the story seemed slow to progress. In other words, there was something a bit generic to Spectre that didn’t feel very satisfying.

One specific scene that left me feeling especially confused was the first confrontation between Bond and Blofeld. So you’re telling me, Bond and Madeleine just decided it was a good idea to walk straight into the hands of Blofeld without any back up and in the middle of absolute nowhere? Maybe I missed something important here, but their plan didn’t make sense and completely took me out of the film. It felt like we just jumped from A to Z without going through the rest of the alphabet. What were they even hoping to accomplish? While they did manage to blow up the facility, it ultimately came across to me as pure luck and completely lazy writing.

And that kind of leads me to my main critique of Spectre – the antagonists. I really wish Blofeld was executed much better because in my eyes, he’s kind of the big bad villain that all the three previous films were setting up. While Waltz’s performance wasn’t necessarily bad, the character just didn’t seem all that impactful or powerful. As the head of this major organization who has been haunting Bond since the very beginning, I would’ve liked to see Blofeld be way more daunting. To be fair, I don’t really blame Waltz for his depiction, I feel like the writing didn’t do the character justice and didn’t give him much to work with. And adding on to this, what was the point of having Dave Bautista in this film if you’re not going to give him any lines? While he was definitely an absolute powerhouse and produced some excellent fight scenes, it was sad to see him completely reduced to a non-speaking character who had zero development or purpose. He was as one-dimensional and plain as a character can get. It was as if the writers followed a guide in creating the most standard, stereotypical action villain ever.

That goes for some of the protagonists in this film as well though. While I generally liked Léa Seydoux’s character, Madeline Swann, and enjoyed her performance in that role, there was something very corny about her relationship with Bond in Spectre. Sure Bond is supposed to be this incredibly seductive and attractive enticer, but their sudden head over heels love seemed to appear out of nowhere. The two have great chemistry together, but my point is that their attraction was poorly incorporated and nowhere near as fully explored as I would’ve liked.

Spectre proves to be as cinematically pleasing as its previous entries though, with the film once again being a visual treat. Another thing I’ve learned to enjoy from these Bond films is how well they’re shot – while there’s certainly added effects and CGI being used, it never looks cheesy or too unrealistic. In terms of action movies, I genuinely think these Bond films are pretty top notch in how they’re filmed. I’m always surprised by some of the stunning shot sequences that are shown and how well the cinematography is executed.

Despite Spectre being nowhere near as fantastic as Skyfall, the film isn’t all that bad and still manages to provide the viewer with an entertaining time. The film’s biggest flaws comes down to its seemingly lazy writing and overly stereotypical storytelling – I was mainly disappointed with how underwhelming the villain and plot were. With everything set up so nicely from the previous films, I feel like I was just expecting a lot more than what Spectre gave. That being said, if you’re a fan of Daniel Craig as this iconic character, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with his work in this film. I’ve decided to give Spectre an overall score of 7/10. While it’s not amazing, it’s not bad either. Now with four out of five of Craig’s films watched, I’m only left with Quantum of Solace (2008) which is supposedly the worst instalment. Stay tuned for that review coming soon!