Spectre lets Daniel Craig have a little fun with James Bond at last

The waiting is over for James Bond fans and with the latest instalment of the British super-spy’s adventures – Spectre. [SPOILERS ahead!]

In a week of release in the UK and selected territories, Spectre is now confirmed as a record breaking film taking £52.1m since its limited territories release on Monday.

It’s a significant step towards recouping the estimated £200m budget for the making of one of the most expensive films of all time and it’s probably understandable that part of the film may be built to cater for international audiences who liked earlier interpretations of Bond.

After three deadly serious movies the latest, and longest, entry into the Bond canon allows Daniel Craig to have a little fun with a character who has been all too serious at times during his tenure.

The result is a superb pre-titles sequence during The Day of the Dead festival in Mexico City which is finally prefaced by a gun-barrel sequence that has been missing from the start of Craig’s other three outings as Bond.

The gun-barrel sequence is just the first of a number of Bond tropes to return but director Sam Mendes has ensured that the film generally stayed the right side of a path that could all too easily have led to self-parody while giving enough nods to Bond’s rich heritage to raise a smile in fans of all ages throughout the film.

In fact, at some points during the film there was a definite affectionate swerve towards the Roger Moore interpretation of Bond, although we did thankfully avoid a double-taking pigeon at one point!

All the ingredients essential to a Bond movie are present: exotic locations, gorgeous Bond girls, cars, guns, and iconic villains but those looking too closely might question some plot holes  which are exacerbated by the revelation that all of Daniel Craig’s Bond films, even the otherwise standalone Skyfall, have been linked together by the plot in Spectre.

Bond’s allies, M, Q and Moneypenny are given more screen time as MI6 fight a very modern threat to national security but there’s a certain disappointment in Monica Bellucci’s relative lack of screen time as Lucia Sciarra although Lea Seydoux makes Madeleine Swann the best Bond girl since Eva Green’s Vesper Lynd.

It was a pity that the villains of the piece got comparatively little screen time, with Mr Hinx meeting an untimely end in a brutal train fight having barely said a word, while Christoph Waltz did well to explain the motivations of his villain without overplaying it.

The ending of the film leaves plenty of room for tantalising ideas going into the 25th Bond movie, with Bond fans perhaps hoping for a proper adaptation of some of the storylines from the forgotten Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

John Barry’s unforgettable theme from that film was dropped into the trailer for Spectre as a massive teaser for Bond fans.

Despite interviews suggesting otherwise in the lead-up to release, Daniel Craig is already signed up for the next film unless he negotiates an early exit and it might be safe to assume that Craig will wait for Sam Mendes to become available again before planning a final outing as Bond after a successful collaboration with him on Skyfall and now Spectre.

Great film but not the best Bond theme

Sadly, while Sam Smith’s “Writing’s On The Wall” might make sense within the continuity of the film it can’t match Adele’s song for Skyfall which is still easily the best Bond theme song for decades.

The title credit sequence itself was fairly average but for the inclusion of images of characters from all the Bond films within Daniel Craig tenure – something that would be explained later in the film.