Resuming where Skyfall left off, Spectre points James Bond on a quest to discover and unearth truths behind the sinister organization responsible.

The 00 organization is under duress as the Centre of National Security attempts to take over control of all clandestine undertakings in the protection of the nation. Bond is on his own and off grid as he follows Spectre across the globe, with one mission in mind, to terminate it at the source.  Much has changed for Bond since his first mission in Montenegro where he fell for the beautiful Vesper Lynd. On guard, 007’s seductive charisma is set aside as he fervently pursues vengeance for M and truth for himself.

Daniel Craig has been James Bond for close to ten years now, a near unbelievable fact until you go back and realize the first film, Casino Royale, was released in 2006. Opening with a strong action sequence set during the Day of the Dead festivities in Mexico City, Spectre starts promisingly intense. Set in exotic locations with transcendentally tactile productions, Spectre satiates the audience’s wanderlust craving. Something happens once Sam Smith’s “Writings on the Wall” concludes, and the dark gritty James Bond we’ve grown to be enamored with takes several steps back toward the triteness of the 90s.

It was always going to be difficult for director Sam Mendes to supersede expectations set from the wildly successful Skyfall. The narrative had taken a complicated turn with deceit and bloodshed interwoven with treachery and malice. Mendes had teased us with a captivating scene set in a wintry tundra where a cloaked man compared Bond to a ‘kite dancing in a hurricane’. It was enigmatic but furtively beguiling. Desperately longing for Spectre to capture this essence for the totality of its duration, it fails to meet expectations.

There is something intangibly weary about Spectre as a whole. The amorous allure inherently exuding from Bond is overdone and forced, injected into the plot to satisfy token assumptions. His unflinching execution of his license to kill has softened, leaving Bond to feel less like 007 and more like IMF agent Ethan Hunt who participates in a similar journey this year.

Do not mistake these criticisms of Spectre as a conclusion for it being substandard. The hand-to-hand fight sequences are marvelously intense and brutal, especially those against Dave Bautista. The narrative plots across Mexico, Rome, Austria and Morocco and does so without sacrificing a coherent story.

Spectre is vastly superior to the Pierce Brosnan 007 films, it is just in comparison to its peers that it fails to measure up and is more akin to Quantum of Solace. With rare occasions of cheesiness that make you more laughably amused than suspensefully entertained, we can only hope for a sensational Bond 25.