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Skyfall Review: Everything A Bond Film Needs to Be
The girls. The gadgets. The villains. And, at the center of it all, the suave and sophisticated Bond.
Few characters in film are as recognizable as 007, a man built on mysticism and wit, capable of cracking the most difficult of cases and foiling the plots of the most nefarious of villains.
It’s no secret that the franchise has evolved over the years, adopting new actors, plots, gadgets, and icons. And now, we see the franchise come to a new apex in its life in Skyfall, releasing in the 50th year of the British spy’s lifespan.
But how does Skyfall stack up against the others? Does Daniel Craig manage to recapture the same air as James Bond, or does the film pale in comparison to a long line of successful movies?
M (Judi Dench) is at the center of Skyfall’s plot when her past comes back to haunt her in the form of a faceless cyber terrorist hellbent on holding her accountable for sins unknown. When MI6 becomes the main target of the terrorist’s attacks, 007 leaves to hunt down the villain and put a stop to the threat on M’s life.
One of the most interesting and compelling parts of Skyfall is witnessing Bond’s shortcomings and weaknesses in a way not seen before in a Bond film. Throughout the film we see 007 suffer mortal injuries, learn about his tragic back story, and even see him question whether or not he really is fit for duty anymore. It’s a quality that lends another layer of depth to Bond, taking him out of the unstoppable hero mold and making him a much more relatable and interesting character. You’ll find yourself cheering for Bond because you both sympathize with him and recognize him as a hero.
And it’s important that you do, considering the odds he’s up against. Hunting down a faceless cyber terrorist is no simple feat, and Bond finds himself taken on a journey around the world to track down and finally stop the cunning Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), a man whose manaical quirks and off-putting personality create a genius villain reminiscent of Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight.
The use of Mr. Silva as a villain represents the film’s strongest quality: the integration of Bond conventions old and new. Although he’s not nearly as visually striking as past Bond villains, Silva is no less gruesome and infamous, a villain that rests uncomfortably on the borderline of being believable and fantastic.
But the nods to nostalgia don’t stop there. Q makes a return in the form of a much younger computer genius, Miss Moneypenny takes to her iconic desk job, and there’s even references to the exploding pen and the famous Aston Martin of old.
But all of the nostalgic nods manage to be both subtle and well-written, inserted within the story in believable ways that enhance the fantasy of the film and give it the Bond flavor the series has so desperately needed over the past few installments.
Action and epic set pieces make the film a treat from beginning to end, complete with great stunt sequences, fight scenes, and a well-paced story large in size and scope. They’re all well-implemented and complemented by great writing and well-delivered dialogue.
Skyfall is not just a great action film, it’s a great Bond film, and it finally sees the marriage of all things needed to make Bond a relevant character in today’s day and age. Tasteful nostalgic nods pay homage to 007’s humble roots, all while coupling beloved iconography and conventions with a story and action sequences uniquely modern to our time. It sets up nicely for a new generation of James Bond, creating a more-than-satisfactory celebration of 50 years and setting up nicely for 50 more.
Put simply, Skyfall is excellent, and it’s everything a Bond film needs to be.