Spectre Poster, Daniel Craig

Columbia

Daniel Craig swings back into action as suave super spy James Bond in Spectre, his fourth film in the franchise and the 24th overall.

The British star is joined by Austrian Oscar winner and Inglorious Basterds star Christoph Waltz, who plays a popular 007 villain, who is the leader of the fictional crime and terrorist organization Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion, aka SPECTRE.

Other newcomers include Léa Seydoux as Bond girl Dr. Madeleine Swann, Monica Bellucci as Lucia Sciarra, a criminal's widow, and WWE star and Guardians of the Galaxy Dave Bautista as Mr. Hinx, Waltz's character's henchman.

Naomie Harris returns as Eve Moneypenny, Ben Whishaw as Q and Ralph Fiennes reprises his role as Gareth Mallory, now the new MI6 leader M. 

Spectre, the follow-up to 2012's Skyfall, is set for release in the United States on Friday.

Check out what five critics said about the movie.

1. Rolling Stone's Peter Travers gives Spectre 3.5 out of four stars.

"If there is such a thing as 'James Bond's Greatest Hits,' then Spectre is it," he says, calling the movie "party time for Bond fans," who "will be orgasmic playing spot-the-reference to the series that began in 1962 with Dr. No."

 2. CraveOnline's William Bibbiani also noted the nostalgia.

"The best parts of Spectre all turn out to be scenes that evoke earlier, better moments from James Bond's past adventures, in an apparent attempt to echo the classic films while also adding angsty drama," he writes, saying they "serve as depressing reminders that, after more than five decades, there are only so many places left for James Bond to go, and one of them was down Nostalgia Boulevard."

"I'll give SPECTRE this much: if James Bond's story were to end here, it's as good a place as any," he writes. "There's a distinct sense that Bond himself (and not just Daniel Craig) is tired of this repetitive, soul-crushing crap and ready to move on. I for one say he's earned the respite. Like the franchise itself once argued: 'Live and let die.'"

Léa Seydoux, Spectre

YouTube

3. Schmoes Know's kristian Harloff gives the movie 3.5 "Schmoes" out of five, while co-host Mark Ellis gives the film 3.9 "Schmoes" as a "action movie" and 3.3 "Schmoes" as a "Bond movie," resulting in an average of 3.6 "Schmoes."

Harloff says coming off of Skyfall, which he enjoyed more, "this one was a bit sloppy in the storytelling."

Ellis says Spectre is entertaining as hell, but not as good as two of Craig's previous 007 movies, Casino Royale and Skyfall.

4. The Chicago Sun-TimesRichard Roeper gives Spectre three out of four stars.

"This is the 24th Bond film and it ranks solidly in the middle of the all-time rankings, which means it's still a slick, beautifully photographed, action-packed, international thriller with a number of wonderfully, ludicrously entertaining set pieces, a sprinkling of dry wit, myriad gorgeous women and a classic psycho-villain who is clearly out of his mind but seems to like it that way," he writes.

5. TimeOut London's Tom Huddleston gives Spectre three out of five stars.

He says Waltz plays a "ridiculously unconvincing villain" and that the script "attempts to shoehorn a spot of Skyfall-style backstory between Bond and his enemy, which sadly leaves the character looking more laughable than terrifying, despite Waltz's best efforts."

"And this is reflective of Spectre as a whole: in trying to do too much, the focus becomes lost," he writes. "As the second half unfolds, the absence of an emotional core becomes ever more glaring, hopping from one action beat to the next without ever asking us to care—or, at times, understand—what's going on."

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