Spectre, the latest James Bond film, is the fourth to feature Daniel Craig, and mixes up the familiar ingredients with enough flair to ensure that, although it runs for well over two hours, the action and interest never flag. Once again the director is Sam Mendes, and if he doesn't quite recapture the brilliance of the last Bond movie, Skyfall, which is arguably the best of them all, he comes fairly close.
The film gets off, as you'd expect, to an explosive start, with Craig in pursuit of bad guys at the Day of the Dead festivities in Mexico City. When he returns to London, it is to find that things are changing in the world of the secret service. Is there any future for the lone agent with a licence to kill in an age when hi-tech global surveillance is the name of the game? Well, we know the answer to that one, but there's great fun to be had along the way to having our suspicions confirmed.
Q - the excellent Ben Whishaw - is pressed into service again, and comes up with some of his best gadgets. I loved the witty moment when Bond, having nicked 009's Aston Martin, found himself playing a Frank Sinatra song from his colleague's playlist in the midst of a breathless chase through the narrow streets of Rome. The jokes are an important part of the Bond movies, and there are some good ones in this film.
About the plot itself, possibly the less said the better: it's not a strong point. But when the confection as a whole is so entertaining, this doesn't matter as much as it would do usually. The theme song by Sam Smith, "Writing's on the Wall" makes much less of an immediate impact than Adele's brilliant theme for Skyfall, but having listened to it several times since, I've warmed to the song. Not quite up to the late, inimitable John Barry, but not at all bad. As for the film itself, it's fun viewing, and that's what a Bond movie should be.