I confess, I was not waiting as anxiously for this film. Craig has gone out of his way to show a real lack of enthusiasm for the role. And yeah, some of the criticisms are very accurate, though I felt they were doing a better job as toning those things down and moving towards eliminating them.
Casino Royal was a game changer for the franchise that revitalized the series. Craig was seen as one of the best Bonds. Folks were excited for the next film…and then came Quantum of Solace. And enthusiasm dampened. Then they announced Sam Mendes as director for Skyfall. And people started getting excited again. Javier Bardem was announced as the villain and people got a bit more excited (but nervous when they saw his hairstyle). And Skyfall came out. And enthusiasm again dampened.
I did not hate Quantum of Solace or Skyfall. They were okay, and far from the worst the franchise has offered. but they focused to much on villains that were never that interesting with back stories so tied to bond, they felt like they lacked the bigger motives. gone are the notions of Bond discovering a plan and being the fly in the ointment, he became their focus.
Any hope that Spectre would turn things around (and end Craig’s run on a high note) were dashed. It is simply enjoyable. It has some great action sequences, and M’s heavier involvement in the resolution of the film (in spite of the film relying yet again on the notion of Bond being cut off and on his own) works well. Same with making Q and Moneypenny heavier hitters, so to speak.
Yet, often, when the film gets talky, it gets immensely boring and never feels like it advances the story. Wit and wordplay are part of the history of Bond, yet Spectre lacks any of it. Craig’s Bond may be less of a misogynist, but he is also plenty dreary.
The film has decided the relationship between Blofeld and Bond needs to be intensely personal. There is no need for this, and wastes a great actor like Christophe Waltz on a rather uninspired take on the villain. The organization of Spectre lacks any ominous threat.
That said, the action sequences are solid and exciting. And I really liked the opening credits sequence. But if this is Craig’s last outing as Bond? It does not end on a high note.