Ok, so Quantum of Solace was a sequel to Casino Royale so maybe it was all right that Craig spent it in mourning of a Bond girl, though seriously I really miss the days when they were just disposable eye candy who existed for one film and one film only. This is where Bond's journey to becoming a hard, remorseless killer in service of Her Majesty is completed. We'll be back to Bond saving the world while surrounded with eye candy he doesn't give one flying damn about now that his Not Very Interesting Origin Story is over. Right?
In Skyfall we get Bond left for dead in the pre-credits sequence, and it turns out that he's fallen off the grid and is basically retired for the second time in three films. Jesus, we get it- this guy doesn't really want to be a spy. Fine, go get Clive Owen. But then the MI6 HQ is attacked and he comes back and now he's got a strong relationship with M for some reason even though he's still been a 00 for about fifteen minutes and has been on exactly three missions, two of which he ended by quitting. Anyway, the "plot" leads Bond to the villain who gets him to fall for one of the most overused cliche's of the last thirty years- the Bad Guy Who Gets Captured On Purpose So He Can Carry Out His Real Plan cliche. And what are the ridiculously high stakes- is Silva going to crash the world economy or start World War III? Nope. He just wants to kill M because M left him to die after a mission went bad. Again with the Deep Personal Connection crap. And it's only going to get worse in later films.
We get a ridiculously convoluted master plan which would be completely inoperable if any one of ten thousand things went slightly differently and then we get a freaking Home Alone Ripoff showdown at the Bond family estate in Scotland and there are, again, pretty much no stakes to speak of. And M dies anyway. Which means that Bond actually fails his mission and the bad guy triumphs. Well that's original, anyway.
Skyfall was highly praised for the same reason Casino Royale was highly praised- because it was much, much better than it's predecessor. And both times, that was a very low bar to overcome. But it was still dumb, pointless trash that left us wondering if Craig's Bond was ever going to get an interesting mission.
Then we get Spectre. This is interesting because the Brocolli family spent thirty years trying to get the rights to use the NAME of the super-cool Third Power agency introduced in the very first Bond film and which became synonymous with the series during the Connery era. So what to the Brocollis do with this precious property? They trash the hell out of it, even ruining the second-best villain of the series, Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
Remember him? The guy with the Cat? The coldblooded mastermind who plotted World Domination? He's butchered in this film. I mean, Charles Gray's depiction ALMOST destroyed the character in Diamonds are Forever, but he's RUINED here because the producers simply can't stop trying to make everything Deep and Personal.
See, it turns out that Blofeld is....Bond's stepbrother. Who hates Bond because....Blofeld's dad adopted him and maybe loved him more than his own flesh and blood. That's why Blofeld built the largest, richest, most dangerous criminal enterprise on the planet. Because of hurt feels.
And Mr. White, the underused Should Have Been villain of Casino Royale? Turns out he's got a hot daughter, and she's the Bond girl in this flick. When she didn't die at the end, I thought "oh no....Vesper 2.0...." but then I thought "I'm just being cynical. They aren't going to make us see Bond in love again, right? RIGHT?"
Jeeeeesh. The end of this sad enterprise is on its way.