Is the new James Bond movie, 'Spectre,' worth watching? The critics say yes

Story highlights

  • "Spectre," the new James Bond film, will premiere next week
  • Critics who have seen advance screenings are calling it "spectacular" and "achingly cool"
  • British reviewers were more effusive than their American counterparts

(CNN)After filming the new James Bond movie "Spectre," due to be released in London Monday, lead actor Daniel Craig was asked in an interview how he'd feel about appearing in another movie in the franchise.

"Now? I'd rather break this glass and slash my wrists," he told Time Out. "I'm over it at the moment. We're done. All I want to do is move on."
Whether Craig was finally exhausted by the intense eight-month shoot, or the painful knee surgery he underwent during filming, "Spectre" looks likely to be his fourth and last Bond film.
    And with the end of an era looming and a bloated budget reportedly exceeding $300 million, expectations for the film among fans are bigger than ever.
    Some lucky critics got to see the film last night before the rest of us.
    So what did they make of it?

    Rave reviews

    Unsurprisingly for a film already pulling in a 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the critical response to "Spectre" has been overwhelmingly positive.
    Over to the critics:
    Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian: "Bond is back and Daniel Craig is back in a terrifically exciting, spectacular, almost operatically delirious 007 adventure -- endorsing intelligence work as old-fashioned derring-do and incidentally taking a stoutly pro-Snowden line against the creepy voyeur surveillance that undermines the rights of a free individual."
    Robbie Collin, The Telegraph: "Five stars: It's a swaggering show of confidence from returning director Sam Mendes and his brilliant cinematographer ... The film's color palette is so full of mouth-watering chocolates, coffees and creams that when the story moves to Rome, the city looks like a $300 million, fascist tiramisu."
    Kim Newman, Empire: "If this is to be Craig's last bow as 007 (the credits at least promise James Bond will return), he'll be remembered as the man who brought Ian Fleming's grit back to one of the great British film franchises."
    Kate Muir, The Times: "This fourth outing for Daniel Craig as James Bond is achingly cool, as sleek and powerful as the silver Aston Martin DB10 that races through the movie."

    Of course, the film was not perfect

    There were detractors:
    Guy Lodge, Variety: "What's missing is the unexpected emotional urgency of 'Skyfall,' as the film sustains its predecessor's nostalgia kick with a less sentimental bent."
    Olly Richards, NME: "'Spectre' is, mostly, operatic, in scale, emotion and frequently in choral soundtrack. The thing with opera, though, is that while in its most powerful moments it can shake an audience in their seats, it does have a propensity to go on a bit."

    Thumbs down from some

    And some reviewers did not enjoy themselves at all.
    Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter: "(T)he final hour disappoints, with too many off-the-peg plot twists and too many characters conforming to type. While its commercial prospects seem bulletproof, 'Spectre' ultimately feels like a lesser film than Skyfall, falling back on cliche and convention."
    Wendy Ide, The Wrap: "The thrills here are empty. 'Spectre' is a frustratingly unsatisfying experience."
    The reviews seemed to reflect a split between critics on either side of the Atlantic, with many British reviewers gushing over the film, and a number of American viewers less enthused -- perhaps unsurprisingly for such an unashamedly British franchise.
    Regardless, a film with this many 5-star reviews has got to be worth a watch for even the most tepid of Bond fans, whatever their nationality.
    One thing for certain: Craig has had enough of high-budget tuxedo action, at least for now, and will soon be taking a break from the big screen altogether. It has been announced he will move on from his best -known hero role to play the villainous Iago in an off-Broadway production of "Othello."