Viewed deep in a recap of the series, Spectre's strengths are obvious, Daniel Craig can really move. Director Sam Mendes zeroes in on this fact, constructing an entire opening gambit around Craig's lumbering, percussive danger. Set to a chopped and repeated drum roll from Mexican group Tambuco, Bond forces his way through a Day of the Dead throng, the kind of hotel that charges by the hour and, finally, an obstacle course generated out of rusting rooftop machinery. Every step falls like a hammer, every exertion transformed into an opportunity for 007 to readjust his suit.
The screenplay, credited to John Logan, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Jez Butterworth, is less assured. Spectre plays like the middle portion of a trilogy that doesn't exist. Craig's last three entries are retroactively organised into a sweeping vendetta motivated by jealousy. Christoph Waltz's Franz Oberhauser is inelegantly slotted into Bond's history, their feud referred to in oblique, unsatisfying asides. Although Spectre is too glacial to resort to anything as gauche as a flashback, it's difficult to shake the desire to see a pre-teen Bond stirring up this animosity.
At times Spectre seems to be reaching for the same generational iniquities that powered the Harry Potter series - Bond and Léa Seydoux's love interest Dr Madeleine Swann are explicitly organised as children standing on the ruins of their parents. Skyfall pushed into Bond's difficult, personal areas finding a phantom born out of a cold, empty house. Spectre isn't so intrusive. Despite the personal threat, Bond doesn't fracture. Raoul Silva's feud has both prepared and completed him. 007 can now respond to these identity assaults with a confidence born out of routine. So what if Cain has resurfaced? Bond is too busy wriggling around WWF wrestlers and trashing Aston Martin's DB10.