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Bond’s Big Boss Battle in Spectre 

By: Michael McCarrick; Lion’s Eye Staff Editor, mqm5415@psu.edu, updated by the Lion’s Eye Web Staff

“It was me all along James, the author of all your pain.” The signature line of the villain from the latest installment of the James Bond franchise, which boasts 24 films from the past 53 years and six different actors playing the main character.

The James Bond character has evolved throughout the decades in his films from being charming and suave in the early Sean Connery editions, to adding a mixture of slapstick and goofball humor in the Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan versions.

The Daniel Craig incarnation of Bond, which began with 2006s classic Casino Royale, is perfect in a post 9/11 world and England’s answer to Jason Bourne, as this Bond is as tough, gritty and cold-blooded as written in the original Ian Fleming novels. (And remember the outcry Bond fans made when it was announced the new Bond would be played by a blonde actor a decade ago.)

Spectre is Craig’s fourth film as the suave hero and has supporting characters returning from their introduction in Skyfall.

The movie begins with the signature gun-barrel shot. Then, the picture cuts to the most lavish Dias de Muertos party ever put on film, as James Bond is introduced walking on rooftops and flying helicopters in an awesome opening action sequence, which is a standard for the franchise.

There is the beautifully animated title sequence of painted femme-fatales and slow motion bullets flying around in tune with the song Writing’s on the Wall sung by Sam Smith.

The plot continues and it turns out that Bond’s crazy Mexican adventure wasn’t authorized by the spy agency he works for, MI6, and as punishment for the damage, they ground him. That, of course, won’t stop James from tracking down the secret organization that has been haunting him for the previous three movies. That organization is the title of the film, and the head of it is a figure from Bond’s childhood whom he believed had died. It turns out he’s been alive all along and on a mission to destroy MI6.

Meanwhile, the head of MI6 is M, played by Ralph Fiennes (better known as Voldemort from Harry Potter) who clashes with the new head of British Intelligence they called C, played by Andrew Scott (better known as Moriarty from BBC’s Sherlock). C wants to permanently shut down MI6 because of the advanced technology and intelligence available to the British government. He sees no need for human spies. Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw), who were consistent side characters in earlier Bond films, return in their updated versions as well.

The Bond girl for this movie is much stronger than in previous ones with Dr. Madeleine Swann, played by French actress Lea Seydoux. In fact, her personality and independence make her more than just a Bond girl, rather a real character with a purpose in the plot, since she is the daughter of an old guardian of James and is just as motivated to take down Spectre.

Two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz is the villain in Spectre and is the biggest enemy of the Craig-era Bond films. Dave Bautista (recognized as former WWE champion Batista and Drax The Destroyer from last summer’s Guardians of The Galaxy) plays a villain henchman in a throwback to other classic Bond villain henchmen such as Oddjob and Jaws.

A typical spy-villain cliché that is one of only few complaints of the film is that Waltz’s character spends too much time explaining his plans and torturing Bond with an elaborate device instead of simply killing him, thus giving Bond time to come up with an idea to escape. That trope can be forgiven, however, because James Bond is the template upon which all spy movies are based.

Watching Spectre is like tasting the most fancy gourmet chocolate in the world: while it is still just chocolate, it’s packaged and presented in the finest quality possible.

When stripping it down to its basics it’s a typical spy-action movie, but it’s so well done and wonderfully crafted that it’s enjoyable anyway. If this is the last film of the Daniel Craig Bond Saga and the studio decides to reboot the series again with a different actor, then it’s a satisfying culmination to the four-part adventure.

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