Countdown to Spectre

Late last year, the next James Bond film was announced at Pinewood Studios in the UK and the wait since has been agonising. Finally, after almost a year of set news and teaser trailers, the latest in the long-running spy thriller series is days away from release. So what will make Spectre worth the anticipation?

Hopes have been high for the series since the last installment Skyfall which impressed with its breathtaking action set pieces (including an excellent introductory sequence), impressive cast and all-round fast-paced directing. If Spectre is anywhere as good as the previous film then it will have achieved highly. Considering that much of the same team worked on both films, my hopes are high. 

The vital difference between Skyfall and 2008's Quantum of Solace, it's highly disappointing precursor, was that the latter lacked any real pace aside from a small handful of moments. It felt largely disjointed, with a collection of action scenes held together by dull and convoluted story that felt embarrassingly rushed. By contrast, Skyfall was thoroughly engaging and noticeably well paced, with equal amounts of heroism and humour. This could be in part attributed to Sam Mendes (Road to Perdition, American Beauty) taking the directing reigns and a significantly improved script. Hopefully, Spectre will continue the move away from Quantum of Solace's failures.

Another vital part of the 007 series has always been the villain. From Dr No to GoldfingerJaws to Le Chiffre, Bond's arch nemeses are known for their distinctive physical features and unique personality's. Skyfall continued this trend with a brilliantly campy performance from Javier Bardem and my expectations may in fact be highest for Spectre in this aspect, with Christoph Waltz cast as Franz Oberhauser, a stellar screen presence who has already proved he can be fantastically menacing with a scene stealing performance as Nazi colonel Hans Landa in 2009's superb Inglourious Basterds

When Spectre arrives in cinemas this Monday, I will be going in hoping for slick directing, intense action, a gripping and immersive story and a memorable cast. If Mendes' film ticks all these boxes, then the wait will have been worth it. The only disappointment I have experienced so far is the decision to hand over the theme tune to Sam Smith. I hope this will remain the only downside.