REVIEW: Skyfall (2012)

Daniel Craig as James Bond and Javier Bardem as Raoul Silva in SKYFALL — Photo: Columbia Pictures / Sony Pictures Releasing.

Directed by Sam Mendes — Screenplay by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan.

This week, I will watch and review No Time To Die, which is supposedly the final film in the Daniel Craig-era of the Bond-franchise. So, in anticipation of the aforementioned 25th Eon Bond-film, I decided to take a brief look back at one of the most popular Bond films ever made; the wildly successful Skyfall. As this film was released several years ago, I have decided to discuss the film with some spoiler details in this review, so make sure that you have actually seen Skyfall before you go any further.

Following a failed mission in Istanbul, James Bond (played by Daniel Craig) is presumed dead and the identities of undercover agents are in jeopardy. When Bond resurfaces, M (played by Judi Dench) is put under parliamentary pressure following the data loss and an attack on MI6. Though unfit for duty, Bond is sent on a mission to recover the lost data and prevent further attacks. His mission will take him to Shanghai, Macau, and into the arms of the dangerous and vindictive cyberterrorist Raoul Silva (played by Javier Bardem).

“Last Rat Standing.”

Skyfall is, frankly, much better than I remember it being. Bardem’s villain, Silva, is just fantastic and arguably the most memorable Bond villain in decades (even though my personal favorite of the last few decades is Mikkelsen’s). That Silva is a former spy on the hunt for M is just an ingenious story (and I like the scene that spells out his motivation). I really love the slightly flirtatious relationship that he has with James Bond, and Javier Bardem really brings an exciting energy to the role that really makes the character work.

The cinematography from Roger Deakins is also, naturally, a real highlight. I especially think of the blueish tone of the silhouetted action fight scene in Shanghai, or the gold sheen of Macau. I love the entire London underground chase sequence. I actually also really love the detour to Scotland, but I’m not sure I did on my first viewing. Skyfall is just well-plotted and features several memorable set-pieces that makes it an easy film to rewatch.

However, it is very clear (especially by the return to the normalcy of the franchise formula at the end) that this shouldn’t be Craig’s third Bond-film, but rather one of his very last (if not his very last). That M and Bond are a relic of the past may be a subplot’s argument, but isn’t it too soon into this iteration of Bond to make such an argument? With all of that having been said, I do enjoy that the film reintroduces us to Q and Moneypenny.

Obviously, Adele’s titular song is phenomenal. The title sequence is equally good. And the opening action sequence set in Istanbul is actually much better and more thrilling than I remember it being. Maybe it is not as fresh as Casino Royale‘s, or as impressive as the unforgettable Spectre opening sequence, but the Skyfall opening sequence is nevertheless breathtaking.

Sam Mendes’ first Bond-film, Skyfall, is a thrill-ride of a film and a gripping blend of the new and the old in this franchise. It is arguably one of the best looking Bond films ever made in large part thanks to cinematographer Roger Deakins, and I think it was really smart to focus the plot around Judi Dench’s character. Javier Bardem’s alluring antagonist is the film’s secret weapon and he is used just the right amount.

9 out of 10

– Review Written by Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.

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