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By Megan Bianco
After the huge critical and financial success of Skyfall three years ago, 007 has his follow-up mission this month with Spectre. Bringing back director Sam Mendes for Daniel Craig’s fourth outing as James Bond should be a recipe for another hit, but unfortunately the most famous spy in the world mostly ends up having an identity crisis. And not one written for the character, but one where his creators currently don’t exactly know what to do with him.
Despite both his boss M (Ralph Fiennes) and Joint Intelligence Service head, C (Andrew Scott) wanting him out of the game, Bond follows his own instincts to track down a shady organization SPECTRE. Secretly recruiting fellow secret agents Q (Ben Whishaw) and Moneypenny (Naomie Harris), Bond travels from foreign countries such as Mexico, Italy and Austria to fight the antagonists and romance Lucia Sciarra (Monica Bellucci) and Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), a widow and a daughter of former SPECTRE allies.
Spectre is one of the biggest misfires in Bond history. Mendes and Craig can’t decide whether they want it to be light throwback to classic Bond or continue its modern grittiness. The tongue-in-cheek homages to the campy era of Bond come across as inappropriate and awkward because of the dark mood and atmosphere, while Bellucci’s and Seydoux’s talents are wasted on the damsel in distress archetype rather than given their own action like the few previous Bond girls. Most annoyingly obvious is that Craig and Mendes both appear bored by the Bond franchise, with Craig clearly phoning it in.