Rated 2.0

The Daniel Craig-led James Bond movies have been a little brainier than past efforts. They've also been the best of the Bond films. With Craig, the franchise has dared to let genuine emotions into the mix. The series peaked with 2012's Skyfall, directed by Sam Mendes and featuring Javier Bardem as a classic Bond villain. For the latest installment, Mendes returns, and this time out the action gets amped up. This film has some terrific set pieces, including a dizzying helicopter sequence to open things up and a nasty fight on a train. That's what's good about the movie. What's bad? Actually, a good chunk of it is bad. After the full experience that was Skyfall, this one feels incomplete and shallow. During a layover in Italy—this one hops around a confusing amount—Bond finds out a few hard truths about his origins, and discovers that much of the pain he's gone through in his last few chapters is attributable to one man. Christoph Waltz shows up (barely) as Oberhauser, a past acquaintance of Bond now leading a dark society called Spectre, responsible for terrorist attacks worldwide. Of course, Bond will get a girl along the way. This time out it's Madeleine Swann, played by Lea Seydoux of Blue is the Warmest Color. Not only does she fall for Bond, she falls for Bond in a way that kind of makes her look like an idiot. The film underuses Waltz, and Craig gives off an impression that he might be getting tired of the gig.