I think it’s funny that Daniel Craig’s Bond has gone from one of youthful energy in “Casino Royale” to one that has been weathered and worn by years of service after only five movies, most notable of this theme popping up in the relatively recent “Skyfall.” With that being said, it is appropriate now to send off Bond in the way that he does in this film. Who will replace Craig? Honestly, I think it should be Matt Berry, but who am I to say? I’m just a film columnist for a university in Nebraska.
It’s been five years since James Bond’s (Daniel Craig) last outing in “Spectre.” He’s living it up in Jamaica, drinking inhuman amounts of alcohol and spearfishing to his heart’s content. All of those pesky bad guys are in jail, and anyone who might sway the balance is handled by more youthful, more capable hands. That is until Bond’s old CIA buddy Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) and his intern Logan Ash (Billy Magnussen) approach him for one more job: securing Russian scientist Valdo Obruchev (David Dencik) from the hands of SPECTRE. Seems simple enough! However, as we’ve seen with these Bond movies, it’s never that simple. We see replacements in the feisty Nomi (Lashana Lynch), old friends in Eve Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw), and old flames in Madeleine Swann (Léa Seadoux). Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek) has a lot more than an island and an army of goons at his disposal, and Bond is going to need all the help he can get.
I would have to say that this is the most pleasant of the Craig Bond films to watch. Not as intense as “Casino Royale,” not as offensively bad as “Quantum of Solace” (sorry to “Quantum of Solace” fans), it finds a happy medium that we haven’t really seen in a Craig film up to this point. It’s not to say that this film isn’t deadly serious when it wants to be, but it’s just quippy enough to keep the mood light in spots. Though, in finding this medium, it’s hard to make this particular film distinct from any of the other Bond films. I can’t say in good faith that it does one thing particularly better than any other, but it doesn’t do anything particularly bad, either. It’s all in good fun, the action is stellar and the directing is slick, but that’s the expectation with Bond pictures.
I can’t say anything more than that it’s a mediocre Bond film, but I’d still stand by saying that even the most mediocre of the Bond pictures is probably going to be far better than the average film in general. It’s quite good in the pantheon of films, but not an exemplary Bond, and that’s okay! There’s plenty of cocktail drinking, bad guy shooting, spy web spinning and fabulous henley shirts to make even the most conscientious moviegoer have a good time. At the end of the day, isn’t that what we’re all trying to see at the movies?