Spectre spends much of its runtime leaning on the past successes of the Bond franchise rather than standing on its own two feet.
To be fair, Spectre checks off all the regular Bond tropes. Mendes, the director of Skyfall, is back again, and he provides plenty of action and superb visuals—yes, I’m including the Bond Girls. But the action sequences are tied together loosely by an underdeveloped plot. In fact, I’m still unsure what Blofeld’s agenda was. I know he wished to unite nine intelligence agencies into one, but he never explained why—he just spouts vague lines about ‘Information.’ Knowing Blofeld, it probably involves some form of world domination.
The most unnecessary aspect of the film—and the focus of this review—is its attempt to tie in Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Skyfall. I understand that they’re trying to raise the stakes, by making Blofeld the ‘author of Bond’s pain,’ but it cheapens Craig’s franchise. The audience doesn’t need a trumped up backstory in order to care about the struggle between Bond and Blofeld. At this point, it’s automatic; Audiences have lived vicariously through his exploits for half a century.
I wouldn’t be bothered by the constant references to the Daniel Craig Bond films, if the execution weren’t so ham-fisted. The film doesn’t ease the audience into the connections. We’re forced to accept that Blofeld has been involved since the start without much evidence. Q literally scans a ring on his magic lap-top, and the inanimate object conveniently connects all the baddies from the prior films to Blofeld.
Worse yet, by the end of the film, Blofeld sets up a scrapbook display, solely for Bond, in the abandoned halls of MI6. Bond moves past pictures of M, Vesper Lynd, and all the players that he’s either killed or failed to save. This scene doesn’t elicit any real connection between Blofeld and Bond. Instead the audience is left to ask: “How, amidst all the world domination, did Blofeld find the time to set up this display?”
I’m not vying for the position of screenwriter either, but subtle references to Bond’s past might have aided in melding the separate films. For instance, there’s a scene where Bond is drunk, and having a one sided conversation with a Rat; He could have commented that he’s still standing. And there’s another scene where he finds a tape of Vesper Lynd’s interrogation. Why not have him watch it and garner some new piece of evidence against Spectre? Alright, perhaps Eva Green was busy, but you get the point.
The people that get these references will appreciate the fan service, and the ones that don’t, won’t give a shit anyhow; They’re there to watch stuff explode. Besides, the whole problem of catching an audience up could have been avoided if they had just decided to make a stand-alone film. It’s simple: Pit Bond against Blofeld for his last hurrah. No Cane and Able bullshit. Just a Double-O agent, up against an agent of chaos.
In summary, Spectre’s good enough to recommend, but due to its stitched together plot, it’s far from the suave send-off that Craig deserved. (Editors Note: Despite commenting he’d rather kill himself than make another bond, he’s signed on for another film)