James Bond Will Never Be Boring

As someone who grew up playing GoldenEye on Nintendo 64 in my grandparents’ basement, I’ll always have a place in my heart for the adrenaline and boyhood wonder that James Bond triggers in fans of the franchise. I’m 23 years old and still stare in wide-eyed wonder at whatever James Bond is up to next. I don’t see myself ever growing tired of it.

Despite mixed reviews on its latest installment, I’m convinced that it’s impossible to make a boring James Bond movie. Spectre was pretty great. Was it as spectacular and immersive as Skyfall? Maybe not quite. Does it matter? I don’t think so.

It’s hard to mess up two and a half hours of explosions, guns, British women, martinis, and Aston Martins. I know this may be a bit of heresy coming from someone who has studied film, but the James Bond formula doesn’t need to be messed with. I’ll forgive plenty of plot issues when it comes to the adventures of 007. Whereas an ordinary action film would lose points for the kind of cliches and trite themes that Bond films bathe themselves in, Spectre uses them to its advantage.

Watch Daniel Craig race his Aston Martin DB10 through the dark streets of Rome and then tell me you have a problem with well-worn Bond tropes.

I shouldn’t make it seem like Spectre is just mailing it in. There are plenty of ways this one passes with flying colors. Just like the earlier films in this iteration, the cinematography is fantastic. Hoyte Van Hoytema (responsible for films like Her and Interstellar) did a fantastic job at nailing the gorgeous landscapes afforded to him in Spectre. From London, to Rome, to sandy deserts, to snowy mountains, this film was gorgeous from start to finish. The music followed suit, clearing the bar that was set by Skyfall. While the headline number by Sam Smith didn’t quite hit Adele’s mark, I’m not sure that anything could have. The acting was also up to snuff. As a Tarantino fan, I loved Cristoph Waltz as a villain, and Daniel Craig stuck the landing on what will likely be his final outing as 007.

He’s done a good job of making the character his own. Although not quite to the extent Christian Bale became Batman, Craig has truly carved his mark in the storied Bond legacy.

I think it says a lot about the job Sam Mendes has done that seemingly all lukewarm and negative reviews for Spectre are directly due to Skyfall’s success. If the worst thing someone can say about your film is that it was good but didn’t live up to its predecessor, I think you’ve done a good job. While it would’ve been nice to somehow usurp Skyfall’s crown in Craig’s finale, I’m not shedding tears over it. Spectre was pretty great.

The 10-year-old in me is cheering.