How to Fail at Bond: Spectre

Solomon Kenworthy, Web Editor

     What happens when 007 orders a new suit, but forgets to get it tailored correctly? In the age of spin-offs and connected universes, the writers of Spectre wanted to join in on the marketing fun, but didn’t understand what does and doesn’t work, and took James Bond’s character into mediocrity with them. In order to figure out what went wrong at MI6 headquarters, let’s follow Bond’s mission and look deeper into Spectre.

Photo courtesy of IMDb

     The film fails to keep the same tone as the previous 3 Daniel Craig-era films, as well as to have ‘classic’ Bond campy moments. Moments such as Bond leaving a man to die in the desert with nothing but a can of motor oil, or tossing his friend’s dead body into a dumpster work in Quantum of Solace because the film has a very dark and realistic tone. Having Bond sneak onto an island using an alligator submarine or throw out puns every couple of minutes work in Octopussy because the film doesn’t take itself too seriously. 

     Spectre doesn’t understand that these two ideas cannot clash. This can be found easiest when within 5 minutes of each other, Bond witnesses a man die by having his eyes squeezed in with someone’s thumbs, then is stuck behind a stereotypical Italian driving slowly and must use his car to push him out of the way. There’s nothing wrong with having Bond be funny or be serious, but they must stay separate, or the script will simply be unbalanced. 

     The love story is not well-written, although it’s still better than Twilight’s. There is only one line of dialogue that helps us understand why Bond would leave active service for Madeline, which is when Blofield says, “The daughter of an assassin. The only one who could’ve understood him.” A major aspect of Bond’s character is that he trusts practically no one. In the movie’s timeline, Bond and Madeline have only known each other for 3-5 days, so they simply aren’t together enough for Bond to drop his life behind for this woman, nor is there time to convince the audience that the scenario is believable. 

     The writing is overall sloppy, and fails to connect the previous three films (the entire point of the film), as well as to have a half-decent script. To prove this, here are several questions one will most likely have after a casual viewing of the film:

  • Why does everyone know Max, the head of the Joint Intelligence Services, as C if only M was in the room when Bond gave him the nickname? 
  • If C is watching all of MI6’s movements how does he not know that Q left to help Bond, and/or why didn’t they do anything about it?
  • Why is Bond going after the secret establishment Spectre on his own instead of as part of an assignment if he’s been after this organization since Casino Royale
  • Mr. Greene, from Quantum of Solace, is a part of the group Quantum, but that’s also a part of Spectre now?  
  • How was Silva, from Skyfall, associated with Spectre if he was only on a personal revenge mission against Judi Dench’s version of M? 
  • How is the DNA from each of the Craig-era Bond villains on the same ring?
  • All of the past film’s villains went after Bond specifically because the man in charge of Spectre was his half brother and hated that Bond got more attention than him?
  • Why is the theme “Bond is too old for the field” being brought up again if that idea was already dealt with and resolved in Skyfall?

     To add to the confusion, this is the third time this version of James Bond has gone through the same character progression of leaving active service, which brings nothing to the film. In Casino Royale, Bond left because he loved a girl named Vesper, who betrayed him. This showed us why Bond doesn’t trust anyone, which again, is a major part of his character. Then, in Skyfall, Bond left again because everyone thought he was dead, which he saw as an easy way out. This departure brought in a new element to Bond’s character, showing that a small part of him wants out of the spy world.

Photo courtesy of The Daily Beast

     Because of this, the writers have thrown themselves into a hole. They can no longer have Bond leave MI6 and live a happy life because of the examples just given, as each time he comes back he realizes that all he knows how to do is be an agent. 

     Spectre doesn’t necessarily mean that the franchise is dead, but it may mean the next writing step, and the only way to save the character of James Bond, is to kill him. If this is true, then perhaps there is a secret organization that wants 007 dead behind the making of the Bond films, and No Time To Die will finally see their vision be fulfilled.