Film of the Week: Spectre review + official trailer

SPECTRE (12A, 148 mins) Action/Thriller/Romance. Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Andrew Scott, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista, Jesper Christensen. Director: Sam Mendes.

The last James Bond flick was the most successful in the franchise’s long history, becoming the seventh highest-grossing movie of all time on its way to joining the exclusive billion dollar box-office club. No pressure, then.

Following his own Skyfall, director Sam Mendes is back at the helm, while Daniel Craig, in his fourth outing, is once again the suave secret agent with a licence to kill.

Bond beginnings are always sensational, and Spectre serves up yet another tour-de-force opening salvo. Set amid the Day of the Dead festival in Mexico, it gets the pulses racing right from the off. Add gadgets, girls and bad guys and the action continues apace as Rome, Tokyo, Altaussee in Austria, Tangier and London provide the picturesque backdrops to Bond’s escapades.

The franchise may have become more muscular and less showy in recent years, but the plots are still familiar.

Here, a cryptic message from 007’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organisation. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind Spectre.

To explain any more would be to spoil it for movie-goers, suffice to say that Spectre is up there with Skyfall as one of the best Bond movies of recent times.

As you’d expect, the stunt work is jaw-dropping and present and correct are all the classic elements fans expect from a Bond movie – the aforementioned rollercoaster ride of an opening, a well-paced, high-octane plot, a beautiful ‘Bond girl’ (in this case, smouldering beauty Monica Belluci), a menacing villain (Christoph Waltz) and, of course, a box of toys for our hero to play with (that Aston Martin DB10 comes with some ridiculous extras).

Craig, it has to be said, is brilliant as Bond – dare we say, he may even be the best. He’s just so achingly cool, and yet again his performance is sleek and assured. Just like Spectre as a whole.