Perhaps no Bond movie is more polarizing than Daniel Craig’s fourth outing Spectre. Feedback to other Bond movies has mostly been unanimous, with fans and critics agreeing on whether they were bad or good. But for Spectre, there are those who saw it as a letdown and those who wonder why other people were so pissed about it.
This explains why the movie has a score of 63% on Rotten Tomatoes and a rating of 6.8/10 on IMDb. There is a clear division among both fans and critics. But is the Sam Mendes movie simply underrated? Or does it deserve all the panning? Here is an argument for Spectre‘s positives and negatives.
10 Underrated: The Best Henchman Since Oddjob And Jaws
Mr. Hinx easily knocks aside all the henchmen in the Craig, Brosnan, and Dalton eras. Wrestler-turned-actor Dave Bautista played to his strengths while portraying the character. He never said a word. He simply showed how good of a fighter he was, and how ruthless he could be.
Hinx’s introductory scene in the movie involved him gouging out the eyes of a colleague with his thumbs during a S.P.E.C.T.R.E. meeting, just so he could take his position. No more convincing needed after that. The train fight with Bond was brutal too. For once, it seemed like 007 was going to lose a fight. If it wasn’t for Dr. Madeleine Swann’s help, that’s exactly what would have happened.
9 Bad: Failing To Properly Connect The Previous Movies
Spectre made an elaborate attempt to stitch together everything that had happened to Craig’s Bond. The producers and writers were simply going with the times. The movie came out in the middle of a decade where shared universes were the new trend, thanks to Marvel. However, the interweaving felt forced.
There were innumerable but senseless backward references to Le Chiffre, Raoul Silva, Vesper Lynd, M, and almost every other major character in Craig’s previous Bond films. Interestingly, Quantum of Solace villain Mr. Greene was snubbed for no good reason. Trying to erase the bad movie from the memory of viewers?
8 Underrated: Unmatched Pre-Title Sequence
The entire opening sequence of Spectre was perhaps the best in the history of the franchise. The first few minutes had Bond going after Marco Sciarra, a terrorist leader working for S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Every moment made jaws drop with awe, from the manner in which Bond casually strolled through the “Day Of The Dead” celebrations while wearing a skull mask, to his long trek on the roof while holding a Glock 17 rifle.
The sequence also included wild fisticuffs and an exchange of fire in a spiraling helicopter above a Mexico City square. After a few minutes, the pilot was dead, and the first baddie was out of the way. The viewer couldn’t help but get the tingles. Luckily, 007 came out on top… and most importantly, alive. He always does.
7 Bad: Underused Villain
The man that’s supposed to be the chief antagonist in the world of 007 ended up being the most disappointing. Franz Oberhauser aka Blofeld told Bond that he was “the author of all his pain.” All other villains that came before him worked for S.P.E.C.T.R.E. As the boss of the global crime syndicate, he was supposed to bring Bond to his knees.
Instead, Bond escaped easily from captivity, using the cliche method of the hero breaking free from whatever is tying their hands. Blofeld’s appearances covered less than a quarter of the movie’s running time, which was a shame considering that the actor portraying him was the iconic Christoph Waltz.
6 Underrated: Dr. Madeline Swann Is A Different Kind Of Bond Girl
Bond girls normally tick either of the following three boxes: a random lady Bond met and slept with (nothing more happened between them), a lady Bond fell in love with but she was involved with the bad guys, or a lady working for a different government agency. Dr. Swann was none of that.
Her biography was more detailed than that of any other female character in the franchise (except Octopussy). And despite the fact that her dad Mr. White was a member of S.P.E.C.T.R.E., Swann wasn’t involved with the bad guys at all. Bond genuinely loved her and going by the history of the franchise, any woman that Bond opened his heart to, always ends up dead. That didn’t happen. For that reason, Swann can be credited for breaking plenty of Bond girl cliches.
5 Bad: Plenty Of Things Don’t Make Sense
Why did Bond attack the pilot in the opening sequence? If the helicopter crashed, there would have been plenty of casualties in the square. Bond could have died too. What about the building that came tumbling down? Wasn’t there no one else in it? There must have been several casualties, but they are simply ignored.
Doesn’t Blofeld have a better way of keeping Bond in captivity rather than just tying him up? Even Goldfinger did better with the laser scene. And how does Bond get into a S.P.E.C.T.R.E meeting so easily? The world’s top criminal masterminds are congregating and all one needs to get inside is to display a ring? Such a top organization shouldn’t be that careless. How about an eye scan?
4 Underrated: All The Classic Bond Ingredients
Spectre was a retro Bond movie, paying homage to all that came before it. Every good and bad thing that’s synonymous with a Bond film was there. Car chase? There was a lengthy one in the well-lit streets of Rome. Gadgets? An ejector seat and a special watch were present. Womanizing Bon? He was romantically involved with three different women in the film.
Globetrotting? Of course. A serial globetrotter like Bond can never trot enough. He kept on leaping from Mexico to Italy to the Austrian Alps and Morroco. Bond also drove two different models of the Aston Martin. What more could a Bond fan want?
3 Bad: Villain Ending
Part of what made the earlier Bond movies great was that the villain always died in a ridiculous but memorable manner. Goldfinger got sucked out of the broken window of a private jet, Hugo Drax got shot by a cyanide dart before being blasted to space, while Dr. Kanaga aka Mr. Big exploded after swallowing a compressed-gas pellet.
But what happened to the boss of bosses in Spectre? Bond shot his helicopter down with a pistol and instead of killing him, he let the police arrest him. Such a letdown! For Your Eyes Only had a better ending for the same Blofeld character. In the Roger Moore movie, the villain was dropped down an industrial chimney from a helicopter.
2 Underrated: Costumes And Production Design
The aesthetics in Spectre were unrivaled. The tracking shot as Bond walked through the roof in the pre-credit sequence could easily serve as a suit commercial. Everyone was dressed up in style. Even Blofeld was wearing Bottega Vennetta Flandra slippers.
It also felt like cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema was given all the money to do whatever he liked. From the deserts to the snowy mountains, the locations were pleasant to look at. No explosion or gunshot felt fake. No night scene felt too dark. The attention to detail that lacked in the script was very much present in the aesthetics,
1 Bad: Bond’s Sidekicks Are A Bit Dull
Judi Dench’s M was replaced with one portrayed by Ralph Fiennes. Even though Fiennes gives an impressive performance, he just doesn’t come off as solid as Dench’s version of the character. Bond had a greater personal relationship with Dench’s M. He even did unprofessional things like breaking into her apartment. He even did all he could to protect her.
However, the relationship between Fiennes’ M and Bond was simply a working one. There is no personal connection. And after having plenty of badass moments in the field in Skyfall, Moneypenny was again relegated to a desk job. She never felt further from Bond than in Spectre.
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