Published Nov 05, 2015Somewhere along the line — between Jason Bourne's reign of supremacy and Jason Statham saying "yes" to seemingly every action movie that came his way — Layer Cake star Daniel Craig came along and helped usher in a new, more serious series of films in the 007 franchise. Gone were the gizmos (well, for the most part) and one-liners of earlier editions; in its place was a more brooding and stoic James Bond.
Three films and nearly a decade since he took on the job, Craig is back as everybody's favourite secret agent in the Sam Mendes-directed Spectre, and although reports differ on whether or not Craig will reprise his role for another entry in the series, it's hard not to feel like this is the end of an era rather than a stepping stone to another Bond film.
While previous films focused on feelings of guilt, pain and, ultimately, redemption, Spectre has a strange sense of levity to it. Part of that has to do with its humour; this is the first film in a while with lines that could be described as "zingers," and although the tired Bond girl trope is still ever-present, scriptwriter John Logan and his crew try their best to deconstruct and dismantle 007's womanizing and alcohol-swigging ways by filling the film with jokes at his expense (hell, he even drinks a dirty martini at one point).
Following one of the most visually satisfying and elaborate opening scenes ever found in a 007 flick, Bond starts to discover that all the enemies from his last few films aren't independent, but rather part of a larger network of malevolent maniacs led by Franz Oberhauser (played by villain du jour Christoph Waltz), a self-sufficient psychopath with secret ties to Bond as a boy.
The Illuminati-esque organisation creates more questions than it answers, but that doesn't seem to be the point here. Compared to Craig's previous three appearances, Spectre is a return to the Bond of old, what with its exploding watches, Aston Martins, fight scenes on speeding trains and wordless baddies (Dave Bautista as Hinx, who acts like Jaws and Oddjob were rolled into one). Spectre ultimately feels more run-of-the-mill than revolutionary, but this is a series that was never high on innovation to begin with. Instead, it hits all the expected notes, and while that may be boring to some, it also creates the perfect base level to build off of for its next iteration.