In what is a true testament to his enduring legacy, James Bond is celebrating his 50th anniversary as a cinematic hero. It stands to reason then that with this milestone date comes the latest adventure of everyone's favourite secret agent.
Skyfall, the 23rd installment of the franchise, is a spectacular film that is sure to appeal to fans of the series, both young and old alike, and it establishes a new direction for the character that will hopefully keep the series thriving for another 50 years to come.
Daniel Craig once again reprises his role as 007 and with his third adventure he firmly cements his legacy as one of the best Bond's ever. He plays the character as a damaged individual tormented by his past and while he tries to cover up his flaws with a steely demeanor you nevertheless can spot the cracks underneath the surface thus grounding him in reality far more than any previous iteration of the character. I think he does a fabulous job and I look forward to seeing his version of Bond for many years to come.
Skyfall opens with an absolutely thrilling and pulse pounding sequence involving Bond chasing a terrorist through the streets of Istanbul, including a rooftop motorcycle chase that is incredible, in order to retrieve a stolen file which contains a NATO list filled with the identities of every single undercover MI6 agent embedded in terrorist organizations around the world. The chase culminates atop a speeding train and results in Bond being shot and seemingly killed. Enter Adele's smoky and sultry new theme song that truly harkens back to some of the classic sounds of 60's Bond films. I love it.
Three months have now passed and MI6 is under constant threat from terrorist attacks because of the stolen list and M (Judi Dench) is being forced to retire by the new head of her division, Mallory (Ralph Fiennes). Of course she'll have none of that and she summons Bond, who obviously is not dead and has been convalescing on an island and getting slightly addicted to booze and pills. He's lost a step or two and isn't quite up to his usual standards but he agrees to track down the culprit when he realizes that M's life is at stake. This time it's personal.
The big baddie this time is a particularly dangerous individual named Silva (Javier Bardem), a man with personal ties to M's past. Bardem is simply marvelous in the role, creating one of the most memorable Bond villains to date. With his mix of effeminate flamboyance and cold-blooded menace he is a truly terrifying and complex man that is one of Bond's greatest threats yet.
Directed beautifully by Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition), Skyfall is one of the best looking and most gorgeously shot Bond films ever. A huge credit for that has to go to Roger Deakins, the amazing cinematographer. I sincerely hope that the Academy Awards will take notice and nominate the tremendous work of these individuals. This film feels epic in scope.
There is some excellent supporting work done here as well by Naomi Harris as Eve, an agent that helps Bond, Ben Whishaw as Q, the man who provides 007 with his trusty gadgets and whose modern-day specialty is computer hacking, and Albert Finney, who doesn't show up until near the end of the film but plays a significant role to Bond's past.
In my opinion Skyfall is easily one of the best Bond movies ever and I would definitely place it in my top 5 list of favourite Bond films along with Goldfinger, Casino Royale, From Russia With Love and On Her Majesty's Secret Service. It is a stunning piece of work that is both fresh and original while at the same time paying tribute to some of the classic elements that have made Bond movies so much fun over the years. The true lifetime fans of the series will surely smile at some of the wonderful moments throughout this film and especially the ending where we can see where the character is heading from now on. This is great stuff.
I absolutely loved every aspect of Skyfall, from its dazzling visuals and death defying stunt sequences to the meaty storyline filled with richly drawn character work from a stellar cast. Whether you are a Bond fan or not this is a magnificent film that is sure to appeal to anyone who likes a dash of excitement in their film diet.
You can rest assured that in the hands of Daniel Craig, James Bond is sure to continue to have a strong cinematic life.
I can't wait for the next one already.
I give Skyfall a 9.5 out of 10.
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