Joe Bro’s review published on Letterboxd:
“I did get one thing right.”
Full disclosure- this film is intrinsically intertwined with one of the saddest events of my teenage life as an indisputable bright spot right when I needed it, so I may be a little bias.
As excited as I am for No Time, this would have been the perfect conclusion to Craig’s Bond. Sins from the past, old school vs new, changing of the guard, and consequence. Not to mention how M’s story ends, I think this would’ve been a fantastic final Bond for Craig. In reality, it’s still fantastic regardless.
Not only does he finally get his Q and Moneypenny, he also becomes the tux wearing suave super spy we’ve been waiting for since Royale, but it’s built upon the foundation we know is shaky at best. This feels exactly like the man from Casino, with pain and despair shoved to the deepest parts of his soul that finds its way through the cracks whenever it can. A broken body held together by alcohol and pain pills, this Bond is once again a perfect reflection of his environment, namely MI6 and what they’ve become. Exploring his familial origins is done also tastefully and reservedly in a way that leaves just enough vagueness and questions to not erase the mystique.
It’s one of the best shot and lit blockbusters of its decade, the choreography is slick and a very noticeable improvement from its predecessor, and while the story may not be wholly original, (cough cough The Dark Knight) it flows beautifully. Bardem’s performance is absolutely fantastic and steals every scene. His facial expressions, delivery, anger, and overall demeanor are just fantastic. He also shows up right on the films halfway mark, down to the minute.
There’s some stuff I don’t love, like Bond just being fine for no reason in the third act, but it’s mostly fantastic from top to bottom. Everything in the film serves the thematic messaging, and it does it with fantastic visual style and personal flair. A villain with a personal vendetta against the last person in Bond’s life that means anything to him, a dark mirror for Bond to gaze into, and a changing of the guard both emotionally and physically. In the age of information, innovation, and technology, sometimes the way you evolve is remembering the wisdom of days gone.
Oh and the third act Home Alone scene and everything after it kicks more ass than 90% of 2010 blockbusters entire runtimes.
Good picture. Spectre next.