After the highs of Skyfall and Casino Royale, I had high hopes for SPECTRE but was cautious because having seen the trailers, read up on the production etc, I knew this was going a very different route to the Bourne'esque entries since CR. The modern audience for Bond have grown up around Bourne etc that are quite serious in tone and short on gags and humour.
I think SPECTRE was a triumph in some respects, but overall it left a feeling of being unfulfilled. The cast were superb, and it was certainly DC's strongest performance. He appeared comfortable and confident in the role, which was reassuring given the character arc over the course of the era he's been involved with.
Waltz was a fantastic coup in casting, but I was expecting a more sinister, Inglorious Basterds type of performance. There were moments where he dug into the evil, psychotic side, but it jumped back to a playful, run-of-the-mill villain for the remainder.
Bellucci was underused IMO. She had very little screen time, and the calibre of her ability warranted greater involvement, despite her role in the story being minimal. Seydoux was a good choice, but I never found myself worrying about her safety or if she was in peril. It's something that Eva Green portrayed so perfectly in Casino Royale, that I think most would agree, she was the Bond girl of the DC era, and flashbacks to her still carry something, as you feel that she really was a part of Bond's life, and not just another conquest.
Q and M, fantastic. Q in particular, witty, nerdy, just the perfect choice for the role. I thought Whishaw portrayed the vulnrability of a techie out in the field, very well indeed. Ralph Fiennes has quickly become a safe pair of hands as M, I hope that continues.
Action wise, I cannot fault the shear scope, scale and effort that went into the stunt work. The pre titles sequence is up there with the very best, with the opening shot setting out the stall - the chopper stunt work is some of the best I've seen, and if you ignore the CGI internal shots, the actual wire work and acrobatics involved were superb.
The car chase is up there with the better Bond chases, there have been criticisms that the DB10 looked unifinished - that's the kind of the point, it was a prototype and shown accordingly IMO.
The score I found somewhat dissapointing, as a lot of it was a carbon copy of Skyfall, and I'd hoped Newman would produce something fresh. There were moments of brilliance, but I found myself knowing what the next key would be as so much of the action parts of the score were carry overs. Nods to previous films I thought were quite good, some subtle, some not so subtle. It might be just me, but I was pleased that the product placement that was such an issue with Skyfall, is less so here.
Overall, I liked it and it was great fun, but the risky move of trying to take the franchise back to the traditional formula, hasn't quite paid off, and I think the tone of the film became muddled in places. In places the playful nature of it worked, but I couldn't help but feel it was trying too hard to replicate bygone eras of the franchise, rather than finding its own path.
It's certainly a Blu-Ray purchase for me, but it's unlikely to be everyone's cup of tea.