If you’re Daniel Craig, call me. If you’re Daniel Craig playing James Bond, it’s hard to disappoint, but well, you did. It’s not your fault entirely, and I don’t know how Hollywood works, but man, didn’t you read the script for Spectre and think, “What the hell is this?”
I’m a shallow woman, so I’ll watch Craig in just about anything—especially Bond, due to the way his body is just plain STACKED—so there was no question that Spectre in theaters would happen this weekend.
The first scene was my own personal wet dream, as Bond wandered the streets of Mexico City on Dia de los Muertos. I mean, I was, like, sighing and gasping over streets filled with skull-clad spooks. Then, the movie happened, all two-and-a-half hours of it, and I left disappointed and, as a writer, confused.
Maybe I’ve been ruined by two of Craig’s other Bond forays, Casino Royale and Skyfall (which is my favorite Bond movie of all time). Maybe I was ruined by Javier Bardem, a villain so creepy but somehow sympathetic, you didn’t know whether to put a bullet in his head or get him to a therapist.
In Spectre, Bond’s career reaches a crescendo as the double-oh unit is closed down and Bond seeks to put an end to a covert bad guy club (which sounds mysteriously like the plot for Mission Impossible: Rouge Nation). Craig has a strong supporting cast, featuring Ralph Fiennes as M, Ben Whishaw as Q, and Christopher Waltz as the baddie. So what went wrong?
Spoiler alert. Spoiler alert. Spoiler alert.
The writers apparently forgot something we like to call character development. Our super villain, Waltz, was just some angry little man with evil toys—toys that didn’t even pay off during the torture scene. The love interest (played by Lea Sedoux) was supposed to be someone we cared about, but she wasn’t. She was just a vapid little girl angry at her daddy. Plus, for me, she wasn’t hot enough, not like Eva Green in Casino Royale, for instance.
Spectre was rife with plot holes and weird connections that just made no sense. Plus, in the denouement, the bad guy was so theatrical as to put believability—even for a Bond film—in the realm of magic realism. (If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll understand when I ask, did the guy have time to run to Kinko’s?)
There were some good fight scenes. The sex scenes were pretty good, too, but not as good as I’d like. There were some ingenious moments of comedy, like when Bond is drunk and asks a random mouse in a hotel, “Who sent you?”
What rattles me the most, though, is the lack of attention paid to the characters. I frankly didn’t care if Bond’s love interest took a bullet to the face. I didn’t jive with the antagonist’s motives because they were silly and weak. Even Andrew Scott, who I usually find so fascinating to watch in his portrayal of Moriarty in the BBC’s Sherlock, was just an angry little boy. I realize Spectre is an action film, and action takes precedence, but that was no reason for the writers to be like, “Screw it,” and toss emotion and plot out the helicopter window. No, said helicopter didn’t crash, but the movie sure did.
I sort of wish Daniel Craig had chosen Skyfall as his final performance as Bond because he would have successfully escaped this sinking ship. It goes to show that explosions, car chases, and fight scenes can’t carry a film, just like sex alone can’t carry erotica. We, as viewers, need a reason to care, and there wasn’t one. When Bond’s romantic interest whispers, “I love you,” nobody’s buying it. You’ve known the guy for five seconds, honey. You can say, “Daniel, I love your mouth,” but that’s about all there was to love about Spectre.