I just caught Spectre. (Yes, it’s been over a month, but I’ve had things to do.) I’d place it in the middle of the 007 pack, in the territory occupied by Live and Let Die, You Only Live Twice, and Tomorrow Never Dies. That’s not bad. Bond movies are like pizza: they have to be Dominoes-in-the-1990s level awful to turn me off. I thought it was well done. Good opening. Well put-together action sequences. I thought the villain’s henchman was effective, but though he reminded me of Red Grant and Jaws–for different reasons–he never established enough of a personality to work on his own as a big bad. I thought Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s claim to be “the author of all” Bond’s pain was absurd, but as I think about it I’m not sure how much of that is manipulative villain bullshit.
My main issue with Spectre is pacing. If the Bond producers are reading this, please understand, just because Skyfall earned its 2 1/2 hour running time, doesn’t mean all Bond movies from here out should run 2 1/2 hours. Two hours plus or minus five minutes is plenty for the typical Bond outing. Spectre‘s pacing, which felt at times almost leisurely, could have been improved with some more work in the editing room. There was a lot of backstory that I didn’t think was strictly necessary. (And backstory can so easily gum up front story.) So by all means continue having Sam Mendes direct, and bring Daniel Craig back if he’s willing, but maybe the cutting room floor should be dirtier next time.