Fair use image from MGM Pictures
Spectre is a well paced movie with intense action scenes, talented acting, and a complex plot. Unfortunately, it quickly becomes underwhelming through the lack of a good villain to drive the story forward.
When James Bond (Daniel Craig) follows the directions of a message from the past, which leads him through the streets of Mexico City and Rome. After obtaining information from the widow of an infamous criminal, 007 infiltrates a secret meeting of a crime organization known as SPECTRE. Bond must face old and new enemies, as well as make new allies, while he races to bring down SPECTRE before it can take control of British intelligence agencies.
Spectre has almost all of the traits of a classic 007 movie. It has a suave and composed Bond as the focus, well-realized, three-dimensional side characters, and thrilling action scenes throughout it. What Spectre does not have is a compelling villain. The self proclaimed “architect of all [Bond’s] pain” Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz) seems to serve no purpose in the overarching storyline. It’s not that Waltz doesn’t play his role well, it’s more of that there really is no role to play.
Like many spy movies, Spectre’s antagonist is meant to be a man behind the scenes, pulling all of the strings. But in this case, the he appears too far back from the situation until Bond steps right up in his face. Moreover, his goal isn’t really clear to begin with. Granted, Oberhauser does play a more active role in the end of the movie, but it’s a bit too late, especially as his ally Denbigh (Andrew Scott) takes up a good portion of the spotlight.
As the last Bond film for director Sam Mendes and possibly Craig’s last as well, Spectre does a good job of tying up loose ends and trying to connect the most recent movies together in a larger plot. But after Javier Bardem’s performance as the villain in Skyfall, Waltz’s Oberhauser just can’t compete.