Quantum of Boredom: Does Spectre mark the end for Bond?

This article is rated S for spoilers.

Going into a Bond film, one has to expect a certain level of retro chauvinism, post war masculinity and 'pussy galore'. As a 60s product there will always be Bond girls, flash cars and exotic locales. But seeing as Bond must be pushing 90, to me he's beginning to seem like that slightly racist grandad its probably best just to ignore. Yet ignore him we don't. Spectre became the 9th most expensive film ever made, the second highest grossing Bond film and the UK record holder for highest first-week opening. We keep throwing time and money into these movies and yet as I sat in the cinema through Spectre's whopping 148 minutes, of which I felt every one, there was a decided emptiness as we filed out in silence realising we'd all been taken for a decidedly underwhelming ride.

The 'plot' as found on Wikipedia (where I had to check that it actually existed) sees Bond chasing the mysterious criminal organisation 'SPECTRE', that until this very day remains just as much of a mystery. In a shoehorned twist only surpassed by Dan being Gossip Girl, it transpires that all of Daniel Craig's adversaries have been members of this motley crew of super-villains all pursuing a shared, vague interest in world domination...? Terrorism? Overly elaborate murders? With seemingly no ideology, no reasoning and ultimately no real threat nor consequence, Bond evades yet another megalomaniac with some dubious connection to his youth. Due to the complete lack of peril, Bond takes this time to travel the world and see some exotic bedroom ceilings - Mexico City, Rome, somewhere in ~Vienna~ and Morocco. Each set piece is as stereotyped as ever, Mexico in perpetual Day of the Dead festivities and Rome with its sinister circles of Medici mobsters and sexy older widows. Similarly Vienna was just as well positioned with empty ski resorts and Morocco had crumbling buildings, endless desert and an unusually opulent train network.

When in Rome, we are greeted by the franchise's first Bond woman, played by 51 year old Monica Bellucci. Here we see Sam Mendes' first stab at bringing Bond into the 21st century, but any good intentions he had proceeds to be murdered by having Bellucci on screen for no more than 5 uncomfortably pointless minutes. The hype surrounding Bellucci's casting as a strong women, a more compatible age to Bond's 90 years, fell flat when Bond attempted to help her out, then repaid himself for his good deed by forcing himself on her and stealing her dead husbands ring (whose death he was responsible for, naturally). The chance at developing any kind of 3 dimensional character was squandered in favour of the most tedious, low energy car chase known to man.

This car chase that feels like it gets more screen time than all the female speaking roles put together is interspersed with a phone call to Moneypenny, who at this time is back home dealing with company admin and office politics as MI6 changes hands (as if the film didn't have better things to develop). Despite being a fully fledged, gun wielding agent in Skyfall, here, Moneypenny is back where she