'Spectre' raises the bar

The latest Bond installment exceeds spy movie clichés

Grade: A-

Company: Sony

Release date: November 6, 2015

“Spectre” was everything a spy movie should be.

It features a man of mystery who must go on a mission to both save the world and defeat his nemesis. There are plot twists and of course, a beautiful girl who falls for our hero, which puts her in danger. At the end of the day he gets through his missions unscathed because of his wit and athleticism.

What sets “Spectre” aside from say, “Austin Powers,” is the craft of the movie itself. Bond is a character that will live forever. He is not your average international super spy – he IS espionage.

This is the 24th installation of Bond’s adventures and viewers keep coming back for more.

Each movie improves the franchise – it didn’t make as much as “Skyfall” ($117.8 globally versus $1 billion) but “Spectre” still came in as the second highest grossing Bond film.

“Spectre” also set a Guinness World Record for the largest film stunt explosion ever in film history.

The film is the last of Sony’s Bond trilogy featuring Daniel Craig that began with “Quantum Solace” and was followed up with “Skyfall.”

The opening credits set the pace of the film. They aren’t just words on a black screen introducing the actors – they introduce the theme of the entire movie and present the latest Bond song “Writing’s on the Wall” by Sam Smith. Special effects create the air of intrigue that is so definitive of the genre.

Daniel Craig’s portrayal of the hero is effective. He is both entrancing and impressive – his emotions flip from seduction to striking within seconds, flawlessly. Though the plot is inherently predictable, Bond is not.

The movie also stars newcomer Lea Seydoux, who creates a new type of damsel in distress – an intelligent one. She plays a doctor, which is a refreshing take on the otherwise mildly pathetic role of women in these films. She’s emotionally strong and takes an active role in Bond’s missions.

The film, as many spy movies do, also takes viewers to a variety of locations. They’re beautifully shot and appropriately inserted – it doesn’t seem useless or forced for Bond to be traveling so much, especially at this point in the series.

Bond’s crew, which consists of super-genius Q (Ben Whishaw, “Skyfall”) and a new M (Ralph Fiennes, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”) isn’t a group of superb friends who have known each other forever. That troupe is overused in many films and takes away from the beauty of their efficiency. They don’t need to be best friends to work well together – they do because all three are good at their jobs.

“Spectre” was a good final film in the trilogy because it wrapped up everything else rather nicely. It left little to the imagination and answered many of the major questions the first two movies posed. Though there were some holes in the plot, overall, it gave explanation for events that may have otherwise been forgotten.

It’s worth the watch because of the name, but also because the film was made beautifully – thanks Sam Mendes – accurately and in a manner in which you could enjoy it, even if you’ve never seen Bond in action before.

Tori Roseman is the senior features editor and can be reached at tori.roseman@ubspectrum.com.