A consistent presence in cinemas for over 50 years, the 007 franchise has seen its fair share of ups and downs. For every Die Another Day that almost kills the franchise, there exists a Casino Royale to come along and revive it; for every instantly classic Goldeneye there’s an underwhelming A View To A Kill.

Sam Mendes and Daniel Craig brought the series to new heights with 2012’s Skyfall, which was both a critical and financial hit. Naturally, this being the follow-up to such a massive success, all eyes are on the upcoming Spectreto see if they can recapture that same magic.

The early reviews are in — and they’re nearly unanimous: Spectre delivers on its high expectations. With its first 21 preliminary reviews, the film has earned an admirable 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, as well as an average 7.1/10. Rotten Tomatoes also indicates that Spectre currently has a 99 percent “want to see” rating among site users, meaning that the film already has an incredible amount of hype and anticipation to live up to — just in case that was not obvious already.

Many of the reviews for the film has noted its indulgence in nostalgia, for good and bad – as you may note from the review excerpts below:

Screen Daily – Fionnuala Halligan

James Bond rediscovers an old nemesis in SPECTRE and, in the process, falls back on the formula to deliver a slightly flat, old-fashioned 007 by the numbers. After the emotional catharsis of 2012’s Skyfall… Daniel Craig zips up an ever-tighter suit for his fourth outing as the British secret agent with a licence to kill and puts his sports car on cruise control for director Sam Mendes. Bond has seen it all before, this team has done it all before, and the production juggernaut hits every beat with a carefully calibrated precision which can be deeply satisfying but also risks coming across as rote.

Variety – Guy Lodge

Sam Mendes’ second consecutive Bond outing again passes its physical with flying colors: Ricocheting from London to Rome to Morocco across action sequences of deliriously daft extravagance, the pic accumulates a veritable Pompeii of mighty, crumbling structures. What’s missing is the unexpected emotional urgency of “Skyfall,” as the film sustains its predecessor’s nostalgia kick with a less sentimental bent. A wealth of iconography — both incidental and integral — from the series’ founding chapters is revived here, making “Spectre” a particular treat for 007 nerds, and a businesslike blast for everyone else.

Time Out London – Tom Huddleston

[‘Spectre’] is a film that gathers all the great – and some of the not-so-great – things about the three previous films in the Craig-as-Bond cycle into one rousing, spectacular, scattershot and somewhat overextended victory lap. It works – until it doesn’t… The result is an unbalanced but never less than entertaining film, enthralling and deflating in roughly equal measure, and studded with moments of true, old-school glory. If this is Craig’s farewell to the tux, he’s going out with a whole string of very loud bangs.

Daily Telegraph – Robbie Collin

The four-word epigraph that begins the film – “The dead are alive” – reminds you that no film series has been better at raiding its own mausoleum, and throughout Spectre, ghosts of Bond films past come gliding through the film, trailing tingles of nostalgic pleasure in their wake.

spectre1 Spectre Early Reviews: Bond Is Back In Solid Form

However, some of the initial Spectre reviews has been more critical or under-whelmed in their tone, as illustrated by the following examples:

The Playlist – Oliver Lyttleton

There were still complaints that Sam Mendes’ film didn’t quite feel like Bond in places, so it would be nice to report that his second movie in the franchise, “Spectre,” will please both the hardcore and the more casual fan. Unfortunately, the new film, the 24th in the long-running series, feels more like a successor to ‘Quantum,’ or to one of the ropier Roger Moore films, than to its Oscar-winning predecessor… [Those] looking for a film with all the classic Bond ingredients may find something to like here. But those of us hoping that Mendes might again be able to take those ingredients and make something more than the sum of those parts will be left bitterly disappointed.

The Wrap – Wendy Ide

“Spectre” is strongest is when it explores the central theme: What is the point of men like Bond in an era where information is power and drones can do his job without racking up an eye-watering bar tab and dry cleaning bill? Is he an outmoded relic of a bygone age? While the character’s relevance may still be subject for debate, the franchise doesn’t do its best work at justifying its continued existence this time around.

Part of the reason why the Bond franchise has made headlines recently — aside from the imminent release of Spectre — comes from the potential departure of Daniel Craig as headlining 007. The actor has made numerous vocal statements about his desire to move on from the role, leading to deliberation over what actors could possibly replace him as the gun-toting, martini-drinking secret agent. It sounds as though Spectre could, indeed, serve as a (mostly) satisfying conclusion to Craig’s run as the character – if he so chooses.

Spectre opens in U.S. theaters on November 6th, 2015.

Source: Rotten Tomatoes

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