When many of the first viewers of Skyfall said it was the best Bond film ever, I had little doubt it to be true. Daniel Craig had proven himself to be an excellent James Bond in the two previous movies, and director Sam Mendes has directed many intriguing and artistic films—so I was pretty confident that Skyfall was going to be extraordinary.
Yes, it was. I can now say with full confidence it indeed is the best Bond film ever.
I’m a huge fan of James Bond and I absolutely love the classic Bond films. Skyfall isn’t one. And I think this is partly what makes it so good, so refreshing.
Of course, Daniel Craig has never been a classic Bond. He’s more of a “blunt instrument”, as M called him in Casino Royale. He’s like the Terminator. He’s like Ian Fleming intended Bond to be.
He’s not the classy gentleman Sean Connery or Timothy Dalton used to be. He’s not a boyish charmer like Roger Moore was. And he definitely isn’t the witty joker Pierce Brosnan tried to be. Daniel Craig’s Bond is an emotionless, fearless killing machine who stops at nothing to get the job done.
Although, when I say emotionless, I have to admit, Skyfall was the second Bond movie where the protagonist actually showed a tiny bit of emotion. The first one was On Her Majesty’s Secret Service where at the end of the movie, Bond’s newly-wed wife was killed. In Skyfall, he shows about the same amount of emotion—that lasts for about five seconds. And then he’s back on duty.
It’s also the first Bond film where his background is completely revealed. Again, some of it was mentioned in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, but this time the ones who haven’t read the books will learn it in its entirety. We even see his parents’ tombstone. (Oh, this wasn’t a spoiler—you’ve got to read more.)
The entire cast of Skyfall is absolutely astonishing. It’s hard to imagine a better baddie than Javier Bardem. He’s proven himself many times and he’s always a good choice when you need someone to play a maniac. He fits right into the long line of stellar Bond baddies.
And the new Q(uartermaster), played by Ben Whishaw, is an interesting character as well. He’s a young computer geek who can do more on his laptop in his pyjamas than Bond can “do in a year in the field”, as he himself put it. And he has a much more bearing role than Q used to—it’s not only one appearance per film any more in the relative beginning when Bond gets his gadgets. Q is more like Bond’s eyes and ears in the computer lab, guiding him through the streets of London or the tube tunnels beneath it. That said, I still miss Desmond Llewellyn.
We also meet the new Miss Moneypenny. As it turns out, she’s a former field operative who decides that’s not for her. And her first name is Eve. That’s something we’ve never known before—even Fleming himself lacked that knowledge.
Skyfall is an enjoyable action thriller that puts a legendary character into a new, modern light. I think Skyfall is more of a reboot of the franchise than Casino Royale was, as it’s introducing the known and loved characters and giving them a new life. The use of the fabulous Aston Martin DB5 only adds to it.
Not many films get a 10/10 score from me. Skyfall is definitely one of the movies that does.
P.S. The theme song Skyfall, sung by Adele, is one of the best songs for a very, very long while. And it gives the reassurance that the last time’s faux pas was a one-time thing.