Spectre12 ¦ Blu-ray, DVD
After the critical and commercial success of Skyfall, it was obvious to all that its follow-up had very big Crockett and Jones shoes to fill. In its favour though, was the fact that Daniel Craig was reprising his 007 role, and that Sam Mendes had signed up once again to direct. The signs then, were looking good.
And although Mendes continues with the themes of his previous film, this effort struggles to shine in Skyfall's shadow.
Bond (Craig) is a man on a mission; the problem is, it isn't sanctioned by MI6. He's in Mexico City with a few scores to settle, after receiving a posthumous message from a dear friend.
His antics away don't go down well with new M (Ralph Fiennes) who feels he has no option but to ground his wayward agent. Bond's more than prepared to stay in M's bad books, if it means tracking down those behind a criminal organisation known as Spectre, so of he pops to Rome to investigate further.
Meanwhile, back in London, M is facing a challenge by way of new consonant on the block C (Andrew Scott); with MI5 and MI6 merging, he's heading up a new digital intelligence service and believes the 00 programme is no longer relevant and is keen to disband it.
Even though things may be rocky at home, Bond isn't deterred from the job at hand, to hunt down the man behind Spectre, and take him down.
It's difficult to feel anything other than disappointment where Spectre is concerned. That's not to say it's a bad film, it's just every little thing about it - especially when compared to the far superior Skyfall, is underwhelming. The script is lacking, the set pieces are below par and lacklustre and even Craig's performance is more laconic than usual. It's not helped by the fact that all these elements rattle around in an overlong running time of two and a half hours long. you know you're in trouble if you find yourself fidgeting only an hour in to a Bond film.
In its favour is Christoph Waltz who is suitably chilling as the baddie in the scenes he's in; the problem is, they are so few and far between.
In hindsight, Mendes should have probably walked away from the franchise after Skyfall. And on this evidence, perhaps now is a good time for Craig to hand in his license to kill, as it seems he just doesn't have the heart to play the character any more.
That's not to say the franchise is in serious trouble; this is just a slight wobble, after all, it wouldn't be the worst Bond film ever made. What it is though is a ghost of its former, glorious self, but if anyone can come back from the dead - yet again - it's Bond.