In the past month we have witnessed the release of two of the years big blockbusters; Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and Spectre (007). But, which movie is better? If (unlike me) your time is precious (I have nothing but time) and don’t want to waste it on the terrible spy movie instead of the good spy movie this is the review for you.
Unfortunately, I did not expect both of these movies to be as bleak as they were… Yeah if I were you I honestly would not bother with either and here’s why…
We begin on the ground floor, our heroes. Let’s be straight here Bond IS the epitome of a spy, he’s a suave bastard who never misses a shot, always has a quality innuendo riddled zinger, has charm and at all times a part of you really hates him. All qualities we admire. Ethan Hunt on the other hand (played by Tom Cruise) is played by Tom Cruise and has absolutely nothing going for him. Bond wins this round.
The Plots. So for some reason the writers of Spectre have ignored the fact that (as mentioned above) Bond is the epitome of spy and will ALWAYS hold that title. They have decided to try extremely hard to make Bond “more relevant” as a character in the modern age, more on that later. The story follows Bond hunt down an organisation named “Spectre” without the permission of M or MI6. He has only the help of a mysterious woman, Miss Moneypenny (future agent) and Q (the tech nerd).
MI: Rogue Nation, as the title suggests also follows our hero going rogue with his small team consisting of… wait.. a mysterious woman, ex-agent Luther (who you may remember from the first one) and his tech nerd as they hunt down the global organisation of terrorists; The Syndicate.
So I think because the plots in essence are exactly the same, we will call this round a draw.
The baddies. Ah the bad guys, a key element in a good spy thriller! As I mentioned eariler both films have an evil conglomerate of terror running down to clock to total global domination, but who is at the helm?
Spectre offers up Blofeld played by Christoph Waltz, Waltz is a bad guy BONANZA. I would go so far as to say he has almost reached Alan Rickman level bad guy status. BUT, there is a huge but here, he is in the film for approximate fifteen minutes in total. When you’ve got an actor with the ability to create an aura of absolute nightmares (see Inglorious Basterds) you really should use him to the best of his ability instead of throwing him in only when it’s time to drop some “big reveals.” Not to mention the writing for Waltz was absolutely bleak, there was no finesse or charm amongst his banter with Bond, instead of draping him with the sleek silk dressing gown of evil language the just threw a heshen bag on and said “meh who needs good material when you got Waltz!”
MI Rogue Nation went with Soloman Lane played by Sean Harris (24 Hour Party People and AN IMPRESSIVE resume of English Crime shows). Now this was a bad guy I could get behind, total sociopath with schemes so elaborate and evil you just can’t help but respect the guy, plus he is always one step ahead of our (infuriating) hero. The writing again is pretty awful but at least he is actually in the movie a decent amount.
I have to call this a tie, it goes against my fundamental nature to rule against Waltz despite the shitshow and the writing for Harris was just as awful he simply got more screen time.
The action, there were many times during Spectre I just decided to go and have a cigarette or scroll through Reddit, it was DULL. The action was good but so so so below the absurd glory the Bond films usually bring. Rogue Nation had some quality face punching but won the day for the me with an extensive knife fight. A knife fight is always going to be thrilling, much more unpredictable than a shoot out, more intimate, tenser and especially glorious when those involved fight dirty. I am giving this one to Mission Impossible.
Back to the subject of relevance. The people involved with Bond need to understand that people love the character because he is exactly the way he is. Spectre explores the theme that maybe the 007 program isn’t particularly relevant in the modern world and this feels as if they are testing the waters to see if people in real life feel this way about Bond the character. I think they have greatly underestimated cinema goers here! At a time where (in real life) terror seems to be at the front of the news and there is an actual real life organisation undertaking the exact type of plots Bond used to fight, you don’t really need to be questioning the relevance of a secret agent who is capable of bringing down the most evil of organisations single handedly. Bond thrived during the cold war yes, when the threat of complete and total global destruction was fresh in the mind of the “everyman” and just because the world isn’t on the brink of total nuclear was does not mean people don’t need a hero who can drink a martini then punch the crap out of out someone before speeding off in a silver astin martin. If we went with “relevance” our spy hero would be some schmuck sitting at a tracksuit going through the emails or flying a drone from a garden shed, nobody wants that shit. You don’t go watch a Bond film to see real life, you go watch a Bond film to see a larger than life caricature of what we all imagine to be a spy, a person who can protect the world, win a card game and be in bed with a beautiful woman before dinner because the reality sucks and the reality is spies are actually boring and probably not the heroes we need or want them to be. end rant.
So it was disappointment all round and I refuse to declare a winner. Go see what you want I really don’t think I hold that much influence over your decisions, I’ll leave that to the professionals. *disappears into the shadows*