The Daniel Craig era of James Bond has given the franchise a darker, grittier, more world-weary secret agent for the twenty-first century, a man whose deadly force and personal losses have begun to weigh heavily on his conscience. Sure, he can still seduce most anyone into bed with him, but it seems as if he drinks his martinis (and any other alcohol he can find) less out of recreation and more as a means of soothing his pains. Because 2012's "Skyfall" ended on a particularly downbeat note with the tragic loss of Bond's beloved boss M (Judi Dench), it was fair to assume the character's 24th adventure overall and the fourth starring Craig would follow tonal suit. While the stakes in "Spectre" have risen ever higher, returning director Sam Mendes and writers John Logan (2011's "Hugo") and Neal Purvis & Robert Wade (2008's "Quantum of Solace") and Jez Butterworth (2015's "Black Mass") have opted to bring a helping of much-needed escapist fun back into the series. It came at just the right time, a balance of globe-trotting action and drama with just enough of a wink to verify Bond hasn't lost his sense of humor.
In the aftermath of M's death, James Bond carries out one of her last unofficial orders, arriving in Mexico City to put a stop to an assassin's plot to blow up a stadium. Back in London, new MI6 head Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) takes him off-duty for carrying out an unsanctioned mission. With the fate of the '00' section of MI6 in jeopardy, Bond is determined to track down the shadowy terrorist organization that has been haunting his every footstep for the last several years. Vowing to protect a former adversary's daughter, psychologist Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), in exchange for vital information on the SPECTRE syndicate's whereabouts, Bond's journey will take him from Rome to the Austrian Alps to Tangier as he moves closer to a long-thought-dead figure from his past, Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz).
See Dustin Putman, TheFilmFile.com. for full review