Daniel Craig remains the best Bond, whose name isn’t Sean Connery

The fourth and probably final Daniel Craig Bond film falls somewhere above the tiresome Quantum of Solace but below the meaningful Skyfall. It offers all the requisite fast cars and planes, gorgeous women, dry wit, a slightly unhinged megalomaniac, lethal gadgets, kick-ass fight scenes, and even kitschy opening credits—all presented in dynamic, precisely choreographed set pieces with a few innovative variations on the venerable car chase.

Sure, it’s checklist predictable, but to Bond fans that’s not always a bad thing; familiarity has its pleasures. Ditto the references to earlier Bond films (is that a white cat?). Call it a “greatest hits” movie.

A few flaws, but this is still a ludicrously entertaining night at the movies. Craig remains the best Bond whose name isn’t Sean Connery. New faces include Ralph Fiennes as M and Ben Whishaw as Q, both characters getting a taste of action this time. Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) plays the heavy henchman, and Christoph Waltz, though underused as the chilling Spectre, was born to be a Bond villain.

BTW: “SPECTRE” stands for “SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion.” Just thought you should know that. Japanese title: 007 Spectre. (148 min)