Posted on November 9, 2012 AT 04:35am
Skyfall is a special kind of movie. It feels fresh and new while feeling totally familiar and comfortable in what it is. The latest entry in the iconic James Bond franchise, Skyfall seeks to both end a trilogy in the best way possible while also setting the groundwork for what we’ve all come to know and love about Britain’s favorite heroic son. Director Sam Mendes has admitted to taking quite a lot of inspiration from Chritopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight and it shows in both it’s execution, it’s set pieces, it’s brilliant villain and personal story. All those elements make Skyfall the best James Bond film since the franchise rebooted with Casino Royale.
Mendes and writing team of Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan create a story that shows Bond at is very worst, but in the best way possible. After an incredible opening sequence (one to rival all Bond openings) 007 (Daniel Craig) is left a broken man, old, weary and out of shape. Only when MI-6 is rattled from the inside does he come to the aid of M (Judi Dench) to find out who is targeting their agents and why. This leads to an incredible series of set pieces that take Bond around the world with gorgeous locations and amazing action packed moments that fit into the world that Mendes creates perfect.
The true joy of the film comes from the villain, Silva (Javier Bardem). Silva brings out the best in Bond in the same way that The Joker brings out the best in Batman. He’s a crazed lunatic, but with just enough honesty behind his forked tongue that you can start to see the world his way. Silva is a man scorned and out for revenge and it’s clear that Bond can see himself in Silva, which makes their interactions that much more enjoyable. I could swear at times I saw Bond almost agreeing with Silva’s ideology and coming around to his side. Bardem plays the villain as a flamboyant madman who straddles the line between gay play boy and ladies man, and it’s a treat to watch.
Skyfall also does something special by trying to make Bond more than a good looking man in a dashing suit doing incredible things. The film really pushes the idea that Bond has a history, a past, a childhood and all of it has created who he is today. In fifty years Bond has never been a very deep character. The most we got out of the man was when Vesper died in Casino Royale which spawned a rather lack luster revenge story with Quantum of Solace. Emotion and physicality come together in Craig’s performance making the first well rounded bond ever. It’s hard to say anyone is better than the original 007, Sean Connery, but Craig has done something admirable with the character. I’d attribute the performance to his relationship with director Sam Mendes. They had worked together on Road to Perdition which may have been one of Craig’s best performances. It’s great to see anyone trying to really flesh out who Bond is.
I could go on for hours about what I liked about Skyfall and why I think it’s the best Bond film of the past 20 years, but I want you to see it as fresh as possible. It’s not a perfect movie, it does borrow heavily from past Bond films, other action thrillers and like I mentioned before it even borrows from The Dark Knight, but it does so with class and makes the ideas it tackles all it’s own. If it was the final Bond film in this trilogy that would be fantastic as it wraps up so beautifully, but as we know from all the classic 007 films “Bond Will Return.”
The Good: Humanizing Bond and making him a real character with a history while retaining the moments that make a 007 film memorable and iconic.
The Bad: Some of it’s plot points are a little too predictable, and it’s one big twist can be seen from a mile away by any Bond fan
The Ugly: There’s nothing ugly about the film. It’s shot beautifully, well acted, has some of the best action moments of the past decade and doesn’t rely on shaky camera work. It’s nearly flawless.
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