From the very start of this series, Moonraker was one of the films I was most anticipating. Promising a fun space adventure that probably would bring the franchise fully into the realm of camp I have been waiting for it stuck out against all other Bond films as being unique at the very least. This hype only grew after watching The Spy Who Loved Me considering Lewis Gilbert really killed it with that film and was coming back for Moonraker. In addition Richard Kiel would be returning as Jaws, easily one of my favorite villains of the franchise so far. I went into Moonraker fully ready to have a great time with it but quickly I found myself feeling disappointed. Instead of fully committing to an absurd and fun plot the film is boring and drawn out until the last act where finally it picks up but by then I was already gone.
The biggest miss here would be the story. It's not even that they don't really play into the camp for the majority of the film. If the film had an actually legitimately good plot I would have also enjoyed it but not only is the plot presented uninteresting but it makes no sense. The Moonraker rocket has been mysteriously stolen and Bond has to find it and decides to start with the people who made the rocket. Why if someone made a rocket they would need to steal it is beyond me but what frustrates me more is how the characters respond. The villains are pointlessly evil and harsh in a way that doesn't feel natural at all and I really had trouble following the plot or getting invested in it. It also is just boring, unlike previous films until the end this film doesn't really go to any new locations or settings and feels like it is simply going through the motions of being a Bond film rather than having any inspiration behind it. It also suffers from the same issues which have been plaguing the franchise for a while now which would be the length and set up. So many scenes just feel like checkmarks that every Bond film must check off feeling again uninspired and dull while also just being long. There is no reason most films (especially ones like this) need to be 2 entire hours but here they are filling their runtime with boring meaningless side plots and a flurry of women who's only purpose is to sleep with Bond.
With that said once you get to the end portion of the film where the film actually goes to space it picks up significantly. Not only are the technical elements like the visual effects and production design quite impressive but it just becomes fun. The wackiness of the action and plot really start to shine and it not only felt different and fresh but it felt fun. If the entire movie would have been condensed into a shorter runtime with more of this tone it would have been so much more enjoyable and memorable but instead, they save this until the end and instead build a dull and uninspired plot that they decide to fill the runtime with. Moonraker will go down as probably the biggest disappointment of this series for me. I wanted to love this film and to see something actually new and interesting but instead, I got a boring and confusing plot that had me simply waiting for the runtime to get over. Where the ending is fun the journey to it is just not worth it. Hopefully in the future, if the franchise really is going to go into the realm of camp it can be better than this but for now, all I can say is that Moonraker will go down as one of the worst films of the Bond franchise and is one I never want to have to sit through again.