by Victoria H.
“Bond, James Bond” is without question one of the most famous lines in popular culture. All over the world people know who James Bond is and what he does. So it is no surprise that there are always high expectations for each Bond film. And unfortunately this time, the latest Bond film Spectre falls short in many ways. There is nothing particularly memorable or substantial to this film. Bond travels around the world wooing women, drinking martinis and throwing punches. And while this tends to be the format for many Bond films, Spectre fails to offer much else.
What makes Spectre all the more disappointing is when you compare it to its immediate predecessor Skyfall. The stakes were raised with Skyfall, as the film reminded us that James Bond is flesh and blood just like the rest of us. Even Bond is vulnerable. Yet these stakes were all washed away with Spectre. In Spectre, Bond is back to his suave martini drinking self. While inertly there is nothing wrong with this, that is the traditional character, what is lacking is the character development that Skyfall gave us. Through that film Bond became a human being we could relate to and not just an icon.
Moreover the stakes and challenges don’t feel real in Spectre. At no point do you ever feel that Bond might fail, the suspense is not there. In Skyfall Bond was tested, threatened and forced to work to succeed. Spectre undos the work Skyfall did to make Bond a real and flawed character. This film returns to the dated fantasy of Bond where he’s drinks martinis, throws a few punches, wins the girl and saves the day.
While Bond films are not known for the female characters, this film weakly tries to change this and fails. They build up Lea Seydoux’s character to be a strong female before quickly pulling her back and slotting her into the traditional Bond girl mould. This character starts out strong as the capable assassin’s daughter yet she quickly becomes the pouty girl with daddy issues. She is meant to be strong and able to handle herself yet falls into the stereotypical damsel in distress tropes.
And what of Moneypenny? This character was developed in Skyfall and established as a smart, and formidable field agent. Yet in this film she has been slated back to phone-answering duties. Why bother giving her character development in the previous instalment, if the intention was always to leave the men to do the work and the women to answer the phones.
This is not to claim that Spectre is a terrible film because it’s not. There are enough big explosions, fancy cars, and cool action scenes to make your ticket worth the cost. But is this a Bond film you will want to watch again and again? Probably not.