Spectre is infuriating.

If you list everything that a good Bond film needs, it’s present and correct. This is also Craig at his most Bondian. Given the OK to have a bit more fun, he’s clearly building on and enjoying the changes brought over from Skyfall. His niche has been discovered; in the vein of Connery or Dalton rather than Moore or Brosnan, and it works well.

The bothersome thing is that despite including everything we want, we’re not judging this film as ‘just a Bond film’. Skyfall propelled the series into a different arena, where the level of scrutiny is higher. The car chase contains two of the most striking vehicles to grace the franchise, but fails to excite as much as it should. The villains don’t get enough time to shine, and two more Bond girls fail to escape the shadow of Vesper Lynd.

Despite its long run time the story feels underdeveloped, with one thread in particular seemingly written in to seem topical but ultimately providing nothing. All of this is compounded by a non-existent score that does nothing to drive the film onward.

On the plus side, what the cast are given they use admirably. Waltz walks the line between sinister and camp perfectly, whilst Bond’s now established team all prove their worth. I really enjoy Bond’s interactions with them, but it’s good to see they can do their own thing too.

The action is exciting, but be warned; several moments are clearly pushing the 12A certificate to its limit. It’s not for the squeamish.

Being a huge sucker for continuity, the mention of events from Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace (I still quite like it) and Skyfall tickles my fussy bone no end.

With that in mind I do wonder if we’ll see Craig as Bond again. If he were to step off now I’d have mixed feelings. I’d love to see the next film go ‘full Bond’ with him in the role, but I think this might be as far as he can take it. Either way he’ll definitely go down as a worthy Bond in my eyes.

Big releases always bring them with a high level of hype and it’s easy to get caught up in it. Spectre is an entertaining film, but much like Skyfall, so much is done right that the missteps are all the more obvious.

Note – What’s with all the fuss about the Sam Smith song? The first time I heard it was in the cinema, and it seemed fine to me. It’s no Duran Duran, but it does the job, and certainly didn’t offend me.

Note 2 – Before the film there is an advert for Heineken featuring Craig. He’s got a longer haircut! It actually looks rather dashing on him. Maybe the crew cut isn’t always the way to go.

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