Broadsheet Movie Barometer Extra



SPECTRE (148 minutes, 12A) Directed by Sam Mendes. Starring Daniel Craig, Christophe Waltz, Léa Seydoux.

Ever since Casino Royale (2006) achieved the impossible feat of making James Bond relevant again, the franchise has never been in ruder health. This eagerly awaited follow-up to the monumentally successful Skyfall (2012) is going to make more money than Microsoft, but it’s a case of two steps forward, one step back.

Picking up immediately after the events of the last film, Spectre sees Bond (Daniel Craig) fighting a war on multiple fronts. First up is the task of hunting the shadowy Franz Oberhauser (Christophe Waltz), head of a multinational criminal organisation with links to the baddies from the previous three chapters. There’s also trouble at home, with oily new MI6 boss Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott) threatening to mothball the Double O program. Business as usual then.

Let’s start with the positives. Four movies in and Craig’s rough diamond has grown into the quintessential Bond. If this is the actor’s last hurrah (and it’s probably not), then Spectre provides a satisfying resolution to his story arc. Returning director Sam Mendes hits all the necessary beats, from kinetic action sequences in exotic locations to a spectacular set-piece every 30 minutes or so. But the realism of the previous movies has been lost in the quest to make the spectacle bigger, and Spectre starts ticking boxes best left as “optional”.

The action is far too slick, and any sense of genuine peril has all but disappeared. Signs of Brosnan-period cheesy humour are beginning to creep back in, along with the clichéd gimmickry of exploding watches and pimped-out supercars with ejector seats and machine guns. Spectre is still a decent popcorn flick that will please fans of “old” Bond, but those of us who have become accustomed to the new, gritty era will come away disappointed.

(Mark blogs about film, TV and other stuff at

19 thoughts on “Broadsheet Movie Barometer Extra

  1. NilNocere

    Why do critics insist that Bond must morph into James Bourne? Bond is essentially a fantasy spy genre, and that’s perfectly ok with me – the more submarines, exploding watches and ludicrous action scenes the better.

  2. Niallo

    In fairness, accusing bond movies of being over the top and unbelievable is a bit of an oxymoron, its 90 minutes of mental floss before you have to face the drudgery of your pitiful “life” again.
    The books were written by an alcoholic during the darkest days of the cold war after all, so maybe we should cut jb some slack and let him at it.
    After all, anyone who can down 6 martini’s on a virgin flight and still walk is alright by me.

  3. mauriac

    Bond movies are crap.License to Kill is almost an okay movie.Skyfall was absolute retreading boring bull.Its time for this sorry empire bolstering series to die.

  4. Frilly Keane

    I’m going t’ it anyway
    I go to them all
    Since say

    And I think you forgot the brief Mark
    The 007 Bond Brief

    It is all about the ” clichéd gimmickry of exploding watches” and “ejector seats”
    That’s why real Bond Supporters cheer at the car chase
    Or when Anna Top got her arse burned

    The Bond run never set out to be The Maltese Falcon
    And sum’ting else
    This Craig Bond is there with Dalton for me
    Both Act’tors try too hard to make the theatre of a Bond filum actual stage theatre. Too much Act’Tor not enough lads getting stuck in
    Its not Hamlet
    It was never meant ta’be

    Don’t ya get it?

    BTW. Best thing this franchise did was to appoint a Dame to the role of M. Genius. Especially as it would have had Fleming turning in his grave. HeeHee

    And Brosnan is my favourite
    Even if he is a tramp from Meath

    So, Mark
    Even Wordsmiths
    Like you
    That deliberately overanalyze
    Over think
    Over write
    Over do their real points
    Just to try and convince the likes ‘a me
    They are too intellectual for the flimsy whimsy of exploding watches

    Will never change the Bond audience’s mind

    Yere just being a knob

  5. Frilly Keane


    Just out’ve Spectre

    And on balance
    As good as any ov’em
    And defiantly the best opening

    A daycent hat tip to Bond Tradition
    And on that npte
    Fiennes for M was savage
    Warming ta’Craig
    But he’s still not our Pearse

    Great premise too
    D’mind yer man’here n’his snark

    Any Bond head out there
    Will enjoy this one

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