It's the longest Bond film ever and was such a tough film to make star Daniel Craig threatened to slash his wrists rather than make another one, but Spectre has been crowned a triumph in its first reviews.

Spectre, the 24th film in the Bond series, was praised as "a swaggering show of confidence" in an early review by The Telegraph.

"No film series has been better at raiding its own mausoleum, and throughout Spectre, ghosts of Bond films past come gliding through the film, trailing shivers of pleasure in their wake," wrote critic Robbie Collin in a five-star review.

"The film's colour palette is so full of mouth-watering creams and chocolates that when the story moves to Rome, the city looks like a $300-million-dollar Tiramisu."

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The Guardian also gave Spectre five stars, calling it "inventive, intelligent and complex.

"Bond is back and Daniel Craig is back in a terrifically exciting, spectacular, almost operatically delirious 007 adventure," wrote reviewer Peter Bradshaw, who said he almost felt guilty for enjoying it so much.

The Independent gave it four stars, saying Spectre lived up to the hype.

"Thankfully, as an action movie, Spectre is every bit the equal of its predecessor, Skyfall. For at least half its running time, this is as good as Bond gets - a rip-roaring and very stylishly made thriller with tremendous production values," wrote Geoffrey MaCnab.

His only criticism for an otherwise exhilarating movie was the "surprisingly clumsy and sentimental way in which the film ends".

The Daily Mail also gave Spectre four stars, calling it a "proper joyride".

"From the exhilarating pre-credits sequence, against the backdrop of the Day of the Dead festival in Mexico City, to a spectacular denouement in the shadow of the Houses of Parliament, Spectre is a proper joyride of a James Bond film," wrote critic Brian Viner.

"It features everything (with the exception of a really memorable theme song) that most of us hope for in a 007 picture: great gadgets, stunts, and a handful of laugh-out loud one-liners."

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Spectre, the follow-up to 2012's Skyfall, is once again directed by Sam Mendes. Mendes has admitted to some tetchy moments with Craig while filming the movie, and Craig caused an outcry when he said he'd rather "'slash my wrists than play James Bond again".

New Zealanders have a few weeks to wait to see for themselves: Spectre isn't released here until November 12. And at 148 minutes, it's the longest Bond film ever made.

- nzherald.co.nz