Spectre - Daniel Craig again proves his mettle in his fourth James Bond adventure, and this time he shows his lighter side, too.

Spectre Daniel Craig James Bond 007

Daniel Craig’s fourth James Bond adventure, Spectre sees him shed his reputation for dourness and lighten up, swaggering through a movie that revels in the series’ illustrious heritage.

Everywhere you look, there are nods, nudges and witty allusions to 007’s past escapades – from a mountaintop retreat that recalls the Alpine lair in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service to a fight aboard a speeding train every bit as bruising as Sean Connery’s railway encounter with Robert Shaw in From Russia with Love.

Spectre Stephanie Sigman Daniel Craig Day of the Dead

Spectre’s weak suit is the plot. Following a bravura opening sequence, a dazzlingly intricate single take that shows Bond tracking an adversary through the streets of Mexico City amid the macabre splendour of the Day of the Dead, the ensuing story finds him on yet another globe-hopping quest.

He is still in pursuit of the shadowy criminal organisation that has been dogging his previous three missions, but this time his mission brings him closer to the villain at its apex, played with sinister suavity by Christoph Waltz.

Spectre Léa Seydoux Madeleine Swann

We largely have to take on trust, though, exactly how Bond manages to foil his machinations. Most of the time, Spectre is so extravagantly entertaining we’re content to go with the flow, but as 007 skips from Mexico City to Rome, Austria to Tangier, and finally London, the movie occasionally stumbles. Bond’s encounter with Monica Bellucci’s Italian Mafioso widow feels limp and the final showdown with Waltz’s evil criminal mastermind is underwhelming.

For a change, it’s the good guys that make more of an impression. Ben Whishaw’s fey, geeky Q is terrific, refreshingly down-to-earth even when he ventures out into the field, while Léa Seydoux’s psychologist Madeleine Swann, Bond’s love interest, is smart, sexy and very handy with a gun.

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Certificate 12. Runtime 148 mins. Director Sam Mendes

Spectre makes its debut on the newly launched Sky Cinema today.