Mailing it in

As the immediate successor to Skyfall, arguably the best James Bond film in the entire canon, Spectre was likely doomed from the outset. By no means is it on the travesty level of A View to a Kill or Die Another Day, but it is still a shocking disappointment on the heels of Skyfall.

That shortcoming has been made possible by the perfunctory efforts of everyone involved. Lead actor Daniel Craig, director Sam Mendes, co-star villain Christoph Waltz, and the four (count ‘em, four) screenwriters seem stymied, or perhaps bored, by the ponderous weight of the accumulated Bond mythology. What could have represented an interesting complication to the overarching story (no spoilers here) gets lost among the admittedly spectacular set-piece stunts and chases. Even the cinematography and locations seem dull in comparison to the luminous Skyfall.

Despite all this, the film is off to more record-breaking ticket sales, so there’s little chance that it will be the last of Bond, even though the script frequently references his sought-after retirement. But clearly, Craig appears done with the role (saying in an interview with Time Out that he would rather slash his wrists than play Bond again). Let’s hope the next installment can revive 007’s resilient allure.

Mark Fields
Mark Fields has reviewed films for Out & About since October 2008. In addition, he has written O&A profiles of documentarian Harry Shearer and actress Aubrey Plaza. Mark also has written on the movies for several publications in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and his home state of Indiana, where he also served as on-air movie critic for Indianapolis’s public radio station. Mark has been an adjunct instructor of film history at Rowan University since 1998. A career arts administrator, he is the executive director of Wilmington’s Grand Opera House and now lives on Market Street. Mark spent the fastest 22 minutes of his life as an unsuccessful contestant on Jeopardy…sadly, there were no movie questions.