Review By Geoffrey Hough
Director, Cary Fukunaga, gives us, with a good deal of swagger, a lavish helping of Bond lasting two hours and forty three minutes, which is undoubtedly the longest Bond movie yet. In Danielle Craig’s final outing Bond is portrayed as a romantic, soft hearted character, as opposed to the independent, calm, cunning and ruthless personality that agents generally require when completing a CV for double ‘O’ status in the British Secret Service. The fact that Craig perfectly executes this character adjustment, is a testament to his great empathy with the role.
Dr Madeleine Swann, played by Léa Seydoux, is the first Bond girl to return which lends support to Bond’s plan to settle down with Swann in Jamaica, which incidentally, was a favourite resort of the late Mister Flemming. Swann is a clear example of the ever evolving female role in Bond movies as we see a woman rising above the bathing suit mentality of bond women, representing equal amounts of both independence and vulnerability.
Don’t take your eyes away from the screen if you want to understand the roles of the various villains. Firstly the imprisoned Ernst Stavro Blofeld, played by Christoph Waltz, who tries to mastermind the destruction of Bond from his cell using his bionic eye to communicate with members of Spectre in order to kill Bond with a nanobot mist. Yes, “nanobot”, bear with me please. Secondly, Lyutsifer Safin, another adequately menacing villain, played by Rami Malek, has arranged for the nanobots to be reprogrammed to kill all the Spectre agents. This little twist to the plot adds further complexity to a conspiracy in the criminal world called project “heracles”, the development of bioweapons where nanobots can be programmed to target the specific DNA of intended victims.
M’s latest appointment to the position of 007 is Nomi, played by a sassy Lashana Lynch who seems to be confined to a subdued role which, reading between the lines, will be of a temporary nature. A retired Bond gets involved in the action by his longtime friend Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright), who persuades Bond to work as an operative for the American government to assist in the capture of a rogue scientist. Bond and Nomi inevitably team up for a shootout with Safin’s army of henchmen where even the most ardent Bond fan is asked to enter film credibility in the outer reaches of the Marvel Universe. Incidentally I do love Ben Whishaw’s interpretation as the over anxious Q and the small reference in the film hinting at Q’s sexuality.
With the hype and publicity of Craig’s swan song, exacerbated by the delays caused by COVID, the expectations for this film were high, maybe too high. What we have ended up with is still a highly watchable colossal epic which is action packed and in parts overly complex, far-fetched and unbelievable despite confident performances from Craig, Malec and Seydoux. However this is still a Bond film with sumptuous casting, gorgeous locations and thrilling stunts not to mention an unusual ending.