James Bond films are a little bit of a guilty pleasure watch for me. I grew up going to see the Pierce Brosnan generation of films, and have seriously loved the Daniel Craig generation of films. Casino Royale and Skyfall are possibly two of my favourite films in general. So I did have fairly high expectations going into Spectre.
This film starts with Bond causing something of an international incident in Mexico, against a backdrop of changes to the security services which sees M (Ralph Fiennes) coming under increasing pressure from the new head of the combined service (Andrew Scott) to close the 00 programme. However, Bond becomes desperate to solve the mystery of Spectre, an international organisation that seems to have its fingers in many pies and is run by a shady character from Bond's past (Christoph Waltz).
This basically ticks all the standard Bond film tropes; the opening scene in Mexico City is really something to watch, there's a chase scene across the Tyrols and a car chase featuring a gorgeous car. Craig is great at playing a Bond who is definitely more worn down by his job than other generations, the throwbacks to Vesper in this film were really good. Despite the dark elements of his performance, there were also a lot of quippy one liners in this film too which prevented it from being too dark.
I also really liked that whilst Bond was having his adventure, the 'home' team at MI6 were given pretty ample screen time. Ben Whishaw's Q is adorably nerdy (and also gets a lot of the humour) and it was fun to see Fiennes and Naomie Harris (as Moneypenny) having a little more work to do in the final hour of the film against the serious creepy Scott, who seems to have made a career out of playing pretty creepy powerful men.
I do kind of wish that the central relationship between Bond and Madeline Swann (the lovely Lea Seydoux) had stayed platonic, rather than becoming a romantic relationship, especially as he appears to have been friends with her father. Though in all honesty, Bond films aren't really known for their stellar gender roles. I also would have preferred it if Waltz's character had a slightly different motivation, as it seemed rather similar to that of the bad guy in Skyfall.
However, if the rumours about this being Daniel Craig's final film are true, then it is a really neat tie-up of his time as the face of the franchise. And we can all get excited about who could be replacing him (Idris Elba...PLEASE)