Written by Yosra Osman

Arts

Mr Bond, we’ve been ex-Spectre-ing you…

Yosra Osman didn’t consider herself a Bond fan until Skyfall changed her mind. So does the latest serving of 007 have her cheering on his exploits or reaching for the trapdoor lever?

Spectre flaming car scene

The latest instalment from one of the most successful franchises in modern cinema, Spectre brings James Bond back to business. After 52 years and 24 films, there seems to be just no stopping the series, even if Daniel Craig has said he would rather slash his wrists than play him again. Despite that, it’s good news for 007 fans as Spectre is pretty much a tableau of the classic Bond fundamentals: car chases, seducing women with ludicrous speed, drinking vodka martinis… it’s all there in slick, suave fashion.

I’ve never been the biggest Bond fanatic. I would only watch Bond films for the sake of it, rather than with any real interest. Then Skyfall came out and I remember being surprised at just how much I loved it. Not only did its more explorative slant prove to be grittier, taking on a psychological approach while sticking firmly to the action genre, but it was about a thousand times better than the yawnsomely dull Quantum of Solace.

“Buildings explode, high-speed chases are suitably high-speed, there’s a plane hurtling through the Alps – it’s all on the spectr-acular checklist. ”

Spectre isn’t quite Skyfall. Directed once more by Sam Mendes, there’s a lot to admire about it, but it also doesn’t quite have that same awe-inspiring gravitas. Maybe because old-school Bond enthusiasts wanted more action, less interaction (which, to be fair, would at least explain why Bond’s lustful dalliances with an underused Monica Bellucci are almost comatose).

What Spectre does get right are its action sequences, helped massively by some excellent cinematography from Hoyte van Hoytema. The opening sequence, which takes place in Mexico on the Day of the Dead, is a rip-roaring display that does not fail to impress. Afterwards the drama continues: buildings explode, high-speed chases are suitably high-speed, there’s a plane hurtling through the Alps – it’s all on the spectr-acular checklist.

Yes, this checklist features many scenes even I’m sure I’ve seen in other Bond films – speedboats down the Thames have definitely appeared before, right? – but this must be an intentional ode to Pierce Brosnan, Roger Moore et al. It may be a bit too much for me (almost verging on the ridiculous in places), but as I said before, I’m not the world’s biggest Bond enthusiast, and Sam Mendes and the gang are clearly having a lot of fun with it.

Bond in the AlpsThe cast of Spectre are a solid team. Craig has really settled into his Bond role, taking on the film’s hurtling challenges with ease and in trademark crisp style. Ben Whishaw is once more brilliant as Q and probably the best character in the film. Léa Seydoux has a little more depth than your average Bond girl, if only a fraction. She is a servant to the male gaze as Bond girls always are, but I won’t dwell too much on the Bond girl stereotype: it’s just one of those things that are part of the furniture and can only be expected, if not always accepted.

In actuality my one main complaint is that the awesomely badass Christoph Waltz doesn’t feature enough. He’s seemingly more a token villain than anything else, unable to show the menacing complexities that have featured in other films.

To stop myself from going overboard with nagging, I have to say that Spectre is a cool, exhilarating addition to the ever-growing, successful Bond franchise. There are some fantastic sequences that thrill and chill, although you may have seen a few before. I imagine for Bond lovers, it’s up there with the best of them. For everyone else… it might not be Skyfall, but thank goodness it isn’t Quantum of Solace.

@yozzie_osman

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Written by Yosra Osman

Yosra Osman is a mid-twenties film fan and self-confessed daydreamer of dangerous proportions