Skyfall is the most recent installment in the long running 007 franchise, but the third in actor Daniel Craig‘s run as James Bond. It comes from Academy Award-winning director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition) and stars Academy Award winners Judi Dench (Shakespeare in Love, Casino Royale), Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men, Biutiful), and Oscar-nominated Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter series, Schindler’s List) in supporting roles. With an all-star cast and an acclaimed director at the helm, this movie was headed on a one-way track in the right direction. However, after weeding through all the hype, does it hold up? The short answer is yes.
After a mission gone horribly wrong, Bond has been presumed dead for over three months and a hard drive with a list of MI6 secret agent identities has been stolen. While James is out, M (Judi Dench) has to deal with the ramifications of this list being compromised, as well as her past coming back to haunt her. Bond sees the need for him to resurface and does so, despite trying to overcome his own past while determining if he should trust M because of the secrets in hers.
With these Bond movies, the writers have put a new twist on the character by actually humanizing him. In Casino Royale, we saw 007 fall in love with a girl for the first time in the series, and avenge her in the following Quantum of Solace. Skyfall is no different, as we learn even more about James as a character, and even empathize with him as he gets older and may be losing his edge. Daniel Craig does nothing but solidify himself as a fantastic Bond, and some may say after this movie that he has gained the title of the best there has ever been.
Overall, Daniel Craig is not the only actor who delivers a great performance. Javier Bardem does a marvelous job as the villain Silva. For the first time in the new movies, Bond actually has a main bad guy to take out and Bardem does nothing but make this character as creepy as possible. There are moments you may find yourself chuckling at some of the things he says, but at the same time will be extremely chilled at how sinister he seems. Daniel Craig may not be the best Bond I have seen, but Javier Bardem is just about the greatest villain. Judi Dench reprises her famous role as M and does a great job, as is expected. Ralph Fiennes brings a great performance to the table as well as Gareth Mallory, making his appearance in the next movies one to be anticipated.
When it comes to directing, this movie is nothing short of fantastic. The cinematography was great and there is a specific scene that stands out to everyone I have spoken to about the camera work. The action scenes were beautifully choreographed and a joy to watch, especially the beginning chase scene. There are a few nods to the Bond movies of the past that any fan will love to see. The only thing I feel the movie fell short in was the CGI. At some points it was almost a little too obvious that there was a green screen behind them, but that is a tiny complaint. Also, there are a few parallels in the story to that of Batman, specifically The Dark Knight Rises. Given that the two films were in production at the same time and how secretive Nolan was about the TDKR script, I doubt any similarities were purposefully made.
There is a good amount of killing in this movie, and some of it is senseless and done as an act of terrorism by Silva. Overall, I feel this movie is not one to be looked at as immoral. Going into movies we have to realize that it is not real and is intended to entertain and, usually, nothing more. Yes, there are horrible things that happen around the world and we should be sensitive to them, but in the end this is just a movie.
When it comes to being the best bond movie of all time, Skyfall would be put into my top 5 list. Most might be put off by the disappointment of Quantum of Solace, but they shouldn’t be. Skyfall is a fantastic movie that won’t be making its mark in the industry on the 007 name alone. Javier Bardem may just earn another run at a supporting actor award for his portrayal as Silva. However good Skyfall was, it still didn’t surpass 2006’s Casino Royale, in my opinion, but this doesn’t mean it is anything short of a masterpiece in the James Bond world. There is no doubt that, thanks to Skyfall, not only will the celebration of Bond’s 50 years be one to remember, but it may just earn 50 years more.
I give Skyfall:
3 1/2 piercing blue eyes out of 4
Starring-Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes