REVIEW: The end of 007?

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1999

The film wraps up the story that has run through Craig’s time as 007, Sam Smith’s theme song is titled Writing’s on the Wall, the 007 programme is in danger of being shut down following a fictional merger of MI5 and MI6, and Bond’s girl gives him a ‘me or the job’ ultimatum before the pair speed off in the iconic DB5.

But is this Craig driving himself or 007 off into the sunset?

If this is the end for Ian Fleming’s character, what an exit.

The truth is that Bond story lines are always far-fetched and are never really that easy to follow – the forgotten references to previous film’s baddies – most of which have a gap of several years between them – and the head-spinning, criss-crossing of the world.

But none of that matters because Spectre delivers in every other way. Director Sam Mendes has continued to lead this franchise along the path of big budget blockbusters that cinema ticket prices demand these days. Craig is as suave as ever. His team in the shadows are as brilliant at there jobs as ever.

Q (Ben Whishaw) makes a rare foray into the field and Ralph Fiennes is brilliant as the new M. He’s so terribly English, it’s hard to see how he has never been offered the role before.

And as for the car…the DB10 – specially designed and built in Gaydon for the film – makes what can only be described as a disappointing cameo. After ‘winning’ the stock Bond car chase through city back streets, it doesn’t even survive the first hour of the film before ending up at the bottom of the Tiber which runs through Rome.

The future of Craig as Bond has been the subject of much speculation in the run up to the release of the film on Monday. Neither he or his friend Mendes have committed to another.

A line has clearly been drawn under this particular instalment of 007. But that does no have to be the end.

We are living in a retro age, when old is new and judging by the spectrum-crossing age range of the audience, there is plenty of appetite for the adventures of 007.

Maybe it is time for a new era where we go back in time and learn more about his past, maybe forward to his retirement.

Whatever Craig’s and Mendes’ plans are post-Spectre, let’s hope 007 has no plans to hang up his sharp suits, fast cars and pistol just yet.

Spectre is currently showing daily at Stratford-upon-Avon Picturehouse. Call  0871 902 5741 or see www.picturehouses.com/cinema/Stratford_Upon_Avon