Spectre (2015)

Starring: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Monica Bellucci, Ben Whishaw, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Andrew Scott

Directed by: Sam Mendes

Rating: 1 2 3

Does there come a time in your life when you've simply seen enough Bond movies? When nothing 007 can do will amaze, excite or shock any more? At the start of Spectre, the 26th film in the famous franchise, I was starting to think this might be the case. Sure, it starts in typical grand style, as a Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City is rudely interrupted by explosions, collapsing buildings and a rogue helicopter, but as the lush titles sashay into view, with their obligatory gyrating ladies, fire and bullets, they're accompanied by a wearisome sense of déja vû.

Day of the Dead parade about to be disrupted in Spectre

Tribute or rehash of old ideas? Spectre is certainly a very Bondy Bond film. All the classic ingredients are present and correct and re-served with a pleasingly retro 1960s wash: cars, trains, helicopters, boats (in fact the only modes of transport missing are skis, submarines and a hovercraft); snow, desert, cityscapes; a room full of faceless henchmen banging away at high-end computers (who do they think they're working for? don't they realise that surveying world leaders online from a bunker in the middle of nowhere while dressed like a ninja in a slim cut black bodysuit is NOT A NORMAL JOB?!). Then there's the  mysterious older woman (Monica Bellucci) and the beautiful ingenue (Léa Seydoux), whose baby face only makes Daniel Craig look a little bit avuncular (thankfully he's not quite at the brown cardigan stage yet). Even the fluffy white cat gets a brief, almost subliminal, look iin, just in case you haven't guessed the film is a sort of lovingly crafted Blofeld origin story. (That's not a spoiler by the way. Nor is it a spoiler to say that it's no coincidence that the new head of MI6 is played by Sherlock's great nemesis Moriarty...)

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Spectre

But just as I'm starting to feel somewhat jaded with the whole thing, like Skyfall before it, Spectre pulls an edge-of-seat thrilling finale out of the bag as the story returns to London for the closing showdown.

Slick, stylish and occasionally spectacular, Spectre has all the classic ingredients of a great Bond film, yet it's only at the end that it seems to get the recipe right. For me, the rest of the film fell a little flat. It's Bond by numbers, and sadly they only add up to a slightly meh three stars.

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