“Spectre” a lackluster conclusion to the Craig Bond era

With 24 films that span 50 years, James Bond has been an icon of cinema. Over the last decade the franchise has taken a darker, grittier approach along the same lines of recent superhero movies.

With these last few Bond films, Daniel Craig’s Bond has proved himself most deeply developed Bond ever. But at his core, he is still the same character that has fought and womanized on the silver screen for the last half century. In the last few films, especially “Skyfall,” Bond has struggled with himself and his past. In “Spectre,” he struggles against the future.

The story taps into the realities and fears of the “Big Brother” world we live in today. MI5 is confronted by the politics of the new age in which the “00” program is no longer considered necessary, especially in light of Bond’s antics that occur at the beginning of the film. “Spectre” wrestles with the issue of constant surveillance, but treats it with kid gloves.

Likewise, the monologuing and lack of action from the predictable villain detracts from the film and bogs the story down. The tropes from Bond films of two or more decades ago are present here and detract from this film’s potential greatness.

While the story is certainly lacking, the film is shot beautifully. Shots of London jump off the screen, adding quite a bit to the film.

On a technical level, “Spectre” is great. It starts off with a “Birdman”-esque single shot which goes through a crowd of 1,500 extras in Mexico City, an impressive feat considering Hollywood’s reliance on digitally created crowds. The stunts in the film live up to those of any other Bond film, with a great car chase in the streets of Rome and aerial stunts in a helicopter.

One of the most impressive feats in “Spectre” is the fact that it has what is considered to be the largest explosion used in a film. This was all done practically, and thus adds something more. Practical effects in general have been making a comeback in the last few years, and their addition to recent films has been a great thing to see.

At the end of the day, “Spectre” is a fun Bond film with callbacks to the days of old. While it may not have the greatest storyline, it is certainly a fun ride to be on. If you are someone who enjoys a typical James Bond film, then this film is for you.