Knee-jerk review: "Spectre"

1. It's way, way too long.  And there's about three endings.  But this is common practice nowadays for Hollywood tentpole franchise movies.  Guess they want audiences to feel like they got their money's worth so they won't stay home with Netflix.
2. We liked it.  
3. In fact, we may have even loved it.  The last Bond movie - Skyfall - had perhaps a more emotional undercurrent, but we hated the ending.  The one before that - Quantum of Solace - was decent, but suffered from the WGA strike that forced filmmakers to proceed with a half-baked script.  So you'd probably have to go all the way back to the stripped-down, slam-bang Casino Royale in 2006 to find a more enjoyable Daniel Craig Bond movie.
4. Fantastic fight scene in the train.
5. Who knew Ralph Fiennes could be an action hero?
6. The tradition of music stars recording the theme songs continues its slow slide into irrelevant, unmemorable oblivion, Adele's "Skyfall" being the only recent exception.  Has there been a truly catchy one since Duran Duran's silly "View to a Kill" earworm in 1985?
7. Daniel Craig cuts an imposing figure.  Despite his reported disinterest in continuing as Bond, he owns this role in a way no one's owned it since Sean Connery.  Stout, suave, unflappable.
8. Fantastic fight scene in the helicopter.
9. Does the white cat make an appearance?  We don't understand this new trend in which filmmakers play coy with audiences regarding a main character's identity.  Everyone knew Benedict Cumberbatch was playing Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness and no one's going to be shocked when Christoph Waltz announces that his name is Blofeld.  It's a cool twist, but not one that need to be preserved at all costs.
10. We are now fans of Lea Seydoux, just as an FYI.
11. Have you ever actually gone to a bar and asked for a vodka martini shaken, not stirred?  Probably should be on our bucket list.
12. What's most fascinating about the movie is the way (even as the series continues to pursue Bourne Identity-style gristle and grit) it's harkening back to the Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan era of 007 excess.  Spectre offers more old-school Bond fun than previous Craig titles.  Most notably, you get a villain with endless army of henchmen in a secret lair - bonus points for the secret evil board room meeting - and proof that Bond is simply (and somewhat illogically in one instance) irresistible to women within moments of meeting him.
13. How can audiences resist the exotic, affluent travelogue nature of these movies?  Bond globehops from Mexico to London to Austria to Africa, all of it while driving the fastest cars, wearing the finest bespoke fashion, and staying at the best hotels.  Here's a free pitch to the Travel Channel: a tie-in with MGM and Eon to make a series about where Bond has visited on his adventures.
14. Somewhere someone's surely written a critical studies paper on the need to kill villains with freefalls from high places.  Why is that so satisfying (because it most definitely is)?  Is it the fact that it takes so long to fall, thereby drawing out the punishment?  Or is it the gruesome, presumably painful nature of splatting on the hard ground that delivers catharsis in a way a knife or bullet can't?
15. Plane sliding down a snow-covered mountain.  Awesome.
16. Worth your while.

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