I have several friends who refuse to see a Daniel Craig James Bond film. My response to them? That’s more of Daniel Craig for me! But no, I really think they’re missing out. The beauty of James Bond is that he’s a lot like the Doctor from Doctor Who – he is always evolving, changing and growing. He can be funny, mysterious dark and campy. But he always is James Bond as the Doctor is always the Doctor.
But I will admit to very nearly falling asleep during Quantum of Solace, the previous James Bond outing. Of course, I was in London at 10:30 a.m. on a Sunday and could probably blame jet lag. But the general consensus in Bond fandom is that movie really didn’t compare to the awesomeness of Casino Royale.
But Skyfall is different. In fact, Skyfall is possibly even better than Casino Royale. Skyfall gives us a lot of Bond’s backstory, as well as diving into more of Bond’s personal relationship with M.
So what’s it about? There’s a guy who has collected a data pad that contains all of the identities of MI6 agents in the field. And James Bond (Daniel Craig) has to get that data to protect the agents. And because of the data falling into the wrong hands, M (Judi Dench) is under fire by the Prime Minister who seems to think that MI6’s day has come and gone and wants to disband the organization.
Without giving away spoilers, I will say that this movie has a lot of surprises. There is a lot in this film that you just don’t see coming. And that includes a very emotional ending. Yes, this just might be the first James Bond movie to make you cry (it certainly is mine).
The writing for this film is some of the best I’ve seen for Bond yet. It captures the essence of the story, gives us an idea of who exactly these people are and prevents them from becoming caricatures of themselves. This is aided by the fantastic acting of both Craig and Dench, obviously. Javier Bardem as the ex MI6 agent who’s gone insane with a vendetta against M is a nice nod to previous Bond films – a blonde crazy villain that will feel both new and familiar to fans of the franchise.
Speaking of old and new, that’s what I loved the most about Skyfall. It blends a lot of the old things we love (great classic cars that have guns in the headlights) with newer concepts, including a Bond without all the crazy gadgets and a Q that is a young and modern computer geek. It’s amazing how well the old fits into the new, especially with Sam Mendes’ direction, that if you’re not familiar with earlier Bond films, you probably won’t know which is which.
I’m also particularly happy that Vespa was not mentioned once in Skyfall. If you’ll recall, Bond lost the love of his life in Casino Royale and it seemed all he did in Quantum of Solace was mope about it. Instead, we get a James Bond who we actually get to envision as once being a child, someone with a history that made him a candidate for MI6.
As far as action goes, well, this is a Bond film, so expect a lot. There are some great edge of your seat moments, car chases, gun fights and fist fights that will keep you happy for days if that’s your sort of thing. Bond is as fit as ever (although his age comes into question quite a bit throughout this new story) and he proves it.
So if you’ve been debating seeing Skyfall and haven’t yet, take my word for it – you’ll love this latest installment in a franchise that’s now celebrating 50 years. And as we see at the end credits: James Bond will be back.