James Bond franchise reaches the end of an era

By Neil “Crow” Crosby
Entertainment Blogger

Franchise, mostly known as a lasting line of certain items, characters, or products, usually over a long period of time. In the realm of movies, few franchises survive longer than a decade, with only a limited number becoming treasured exceptions. That includes this review’s subject: James Bond, and the latest installment, Spectre.

With its lasting series of films since the early 1960s, James Bond is synonymous with everything spy. It’s even considered a cornerstone, given its traditions and reinvention of both spy movies and pop culture. Bond gives us a character that is the envy of every man and the desire of many women.

He is strong, shady and of silver-tongued wit, all while being classy and awesome in his job as 007, an agent working for England’s MI6 (the equivalent to the CIA or Secret Service).

While many actors have played the role of Bond, we are talking about the last film of the latest actor, Daniel Craig, whom also played in three previous films in the series.

In my view, he is definitely the best fit for a more “mature” Bond, given that he has more grit while still maintaining the style and quaint humor of the character.

It can be said that the past four films (Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, and Spectre) are more of an in-depth take on things, with some backstory behind 007’s early life. This interests me as a film critic, since it’s not something you really should do in a spy film for one simple reason: characterization.

If you go into explaining every little detail behind the man we should know little about, then we can’t really get fully invested in him due to the aura of mystery and why he is how he is.

Looks and wits aside, these are two critical points to observe.

But here’s the twist to this argument, it actually develops the character beyond the traits he has practically trademarked. Since each story in the Daniel Craig Bond films has had Bond suffer massive emotional damage and the effects are clear and present.

Spectre opens in Mexico City amid the chaos of Day of the Dead festivities, with Bond tracking down a mysterious assassin and what he finds is something much more threatening.

Roll the ever-classic intro sequence complete with mind-trip visuals and the song “Writing’s On the Wall” by Sam Smith escorting us into a cerebral experience of symbolism and imposing catastrophe.

A simple symbol on a ring becomes the focus of our hero. Obsession follows shortly after, and within due time he finds that all of his recent tragedies are roads leading to the criminal super organization, Spectre. After sneaking into a meeting, he is quickly found out by a familiar face and pursued by a behemoth of an enforcer (Dave Bautista, of WWE fame) on a high octane car chase through the streets of Rome.

It’s where I have to declare my love for the framework and cinematography that is present in every Bond film, with an emphasis on details of action or the scale of the environment in its many remote locations such as Rome in this film or of Scotland in Skyfall. These breathtaking, eat your heart out viewings, are enough to breath your last over and not care an ounce over the results of it. That is how beautifully meticulous these scenes are, and how much I love them for their natural intensity and ambiance.

The film also put me in the driver’s seat so to speak. It gives fans the illusionary feeling that they’re living a dangerous life, and couldn’t give a damn of the outcomes. As stated before, these instances are connected to Bond’s past but these connections are subtly given throughout the film. If you hadn’t viewed the previous films before this one, you may be confused by some of the major plot details around the last 30 minutes.

I do recommend seeing them for this reason, but also because they are exceedingly good films that are well worth your time. Bottom line: Another classic in a long line of classics, and easily recommendable to any moviegoer.

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