After having watched more than a dozen of them, there are certain things I have come to expect from a Bond movie.
Insane, unlikely chase scenes with daring leaps and big explosions, all in a well-tailored suit.
A stereotypical bad guy that oozes evil.
A rocking theme song.
Every film has these elements, and generally the movies don't stand out in your mind because of them. It just makes them FUN.
But when Bond is accidentally shot by his own agent, falls thousands of feet into a waterfall and dies, all before the opening music sequence, you get a niggling feeling in your stomach that this one might be a little bit different. (And by the way, the opening music sequence? Amazing. Like jaw-hanging open amazing.)
Well obviously Bond isn't dead, else what are we going to be doing for the next two hours but eat popcorn? But Bond is changed. He is aging. He has been permanently wounded. He is depressed and has lost some of his mojo. Suddenly our man is fallible. He and M make a team of has-been, antiquated spies fighting a war that is fought with computers by faceless enemies. Perhaps it is time to pass the baton over to those younger, stronger, more clever in the ways of the new world.
This alone sets "Skyfall" apart from most other Bond flicks. But there is more, and for the Bond enthusiast, it feels like being a kid in a candy shop.
We get more time with M (Judi Dench). In the past, she is always the mastermind that gives Bond his directives, always the badass mother-figure that lives in the shadows. We pry back the brittle, titanium exterior to see a little of her history, a little of what makes her tick.
We also, for the first time ever if I'm not mistaken, get a peek into Bond's tragic childhood. With an epic finale filmed at a Scottish castle, Bond's family home. This movie is all about roots. It is more dark and more thoroughly developed that any of its predecessors combined.
So then let's talk about our token evil dude, Raoul Silva, played by the most incredible Javier Bardem. Bardem isn't just a hot guy, he is one hell of an actor. He has played a gay poet, a terminally ill father, a sexy love interest, a stone cold psychopath, and a quadriplegic fighting for his right to die. He has been nominated multiple times for Oscars and scored one as well. So you just knew he was going to bring it. And he did more than bring it. He owned it. He took the role of a cyberterrorist, a deeply damaged, psychotic meglomaniac and made him the highlight of the show, and probably the best Bond villain to date.
Do we want to have a discussion about who is the best James Bond? No! I happen to love most of them, and maybe have a slight favorite in Sean Connery. But Daniel Craig is no slouch. He's ripped, he's smooth, he's attractive, he can act, he looks good in a tux, and well, what else do you want? I'm quite satisfied with the franchise in his capable hands.
To summarize? Best Bond film yet. Best Bond villain yet. Best opening sequence yet. If you have the LEAST bit of interest in the franchise, I would implore you to see it.
5 out of 5 stars