BEING the culmination of the last three Daniel Craig-starring films that injected a gritty shot of adrenaline into the long-running James Bond series, a 148-minute running time seems justifiable for Spectre.
Everything from Bond’s personal and professional life so far has been building to this point.
However, despite clocking in at only five minutes longer than the superior Skyfall, it feels like it drags on longer than Gone With The Wind.
In fact, I feel like last week’s preview may still be screening.
While the OO program is being threatened with closure by MI6, James Bond (Craig) goes rogue to seek revenge on the man who killed M (Judi Dench), but it just leads him to bigger fish and secrets from his past.
He teams with Madeleine Swann (Seydoux), who can help lead him to, but also needs protection from, this episode’s evil mastermind Oberhauser (Waltz).
Linking the events from the last few outings promises to result in Bond’s most emotionally devastating and complex plot, but it is not convincingly portrayed.
Jumping back in the director’s chair, Sam Mendes delivers the action once again, with a reliably thrilling opening and subsequent tension-filled chase sequences, but the American Beauty helmer fails to bring the emotional blows this wrap-up requires.
Craig fills his trademark suit beautifully and his performance is appropriately stern, but is lacklustre when Bond faces emotional turmoil.
Spectre feels like it thinks it has more dramatic weight than it does.
While it is nowhere near the level of the disastrous Quantum of Solace, it is not exactly the high note that Craig should have gone out on in the iconic role.
Directed by: Sam Mendes
Starring: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux
Three and a half stars
Review by Julian Wright
In cinemas November 12