Skyfall - Review



Who would've thought that the first blond James Bond who caused that much controversy would turn out to be pretty much the best out of all of them.
With Daniel Craig's stellar performance as the new 007, he just further manifested the character as one of Britains most cherished objects of cultural value. Casino Royale did an excellent job in introducing Craig as a completely new kind of James Bond. Quantum of Solace then continued and completed the storyarch and while not being too disappointing, it did feel not on par with Royale's effort.
Now it's Sam Mendes' turn to continue Bond's adventure.
Did the director of American Beauty succeed or is he too big of a nice guy to handle the new Craig-Bond?



The plot:
Bond's loyalty to M (Judi Dench) is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 (Daniel Craig) must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost. (source: IMDb)


In typical James Bond fashion, Skyfall opens up bombastically with a tense and incredibly well choreographed action scene throwing the audience right into the action.
Excellent opening action scenes have become the standard for 007 movies (pretty much since the Brosnan era). The action sequence as always ends with a superb tension-filled peak that transcends into the "Skyfall-opening-music-video".
Adele's title song for Skyfall is decent in my opinion and that's just the same case with the musical intro (meaning that there have just been better music-intros in Bond history). But that aside, this pretty much perfect Bond movie opens up with a bang and just continues to thrill.

Skyfall is not your usual Bond movie and yet it is. It's a successful experiment of combining new ideas and approaches to the Bond franchise while also keeping faith to the original Bond-fashion.

Skyfall introduces the audience to the fact that the MI6 is no longer the untouchable dogmatic secret-agency that it has evolved into over the last 22 Bond movies.
Both M and the entire MI6 find themselves being threatened by a cyber-terrorist whose identity they just cannot determine. For the entire half of the movie, the real antagonist in Skyfall is faceless and remains this invisible threat. This makes the mystery around the antagonist's persona really suspensful. You only hear things about him from other people, making his first appearance that more impactful.


Kickin' ass for the UK.

Another big storytelling-strength is the character development of James Bond himself. Through the entire movie his relevance in the MI6 is questioned. Also questions like "Why are you doing this anyway?", "Do the gadgets make James Bond? His past? Or what exactly?" and most importantly questions about Bond's life before MI6 emerge.
Especially the mystery about Bond's early life is handled incredibly well. While you actually do get some more hints and infos about his previous life, they are given in such a way that they still keep most of the mystery around the fascinating character of Bond intact.

Along with deepening the character of James Bond and renewing him in a way for nowaday's age, Skyfall pays a whole lot of tribute to the old Bond movies: an oldtimer Aston Martin, references to old Bond gadgets, and more.
To sum it up, Old and New are incredibly well balanced in Skyfall, in such a specific way that the new Bond approach replaces the old one without disrespecting it.

Furthermore, Skyfall's story is very well paced. It is definitely the most action-packed since the Brosnan-movies. With that said, that doesn't mean that it derives into Michael-Bay-territory. Action kicks in at exactly the right moments. Silent- or dialogue-heavy moments show a certain kind of uneasyness throughout the movie, until the tension explodes in a thrilling action scene. You just now that the invisible enemy is out there and somehow always watching you. 
Sam Mendes does a superb job of keeping the audience somewhat always on their toes without risking an overkill. Also, there is basically no CG-bullshit in the action-scenes. Just like it always should be!


"Should i apologize if i accidently shoot Bond?...Nah."

But it does get even better!
Skyfall is an acting powerhouse:

Judi Dench's character M is given a whole lot more attention in this movie. She basically is the key-figure in the entire story. While we don't dig too deep into her past, through her, it is shown that the MI6 is not as flawless at it always seemed, and that the entire MI6 and she herself did things in the past that they are not really proud of...horrible things. As usual with Judi Dench, she is awesome as M.

As it is often the case with third-parters, Daniel Craig's character goes through some sort of identity-midlife-crisis. Actingwise, Craig is expectedly great, but not as IN YOUR FACE badassery as in Royale or Solace. He still keeps his brutal badass side, but it is played much more casual this time around. Yet still, basically every actor in Skyfall can't hold a candle to...

Javier Bardem as Silva. Good Lord what a great actor. After his great performance in "No Country for Old Men", this is probably his most memorable role. In his performance, Bardem gives Silva a very unique character. Silva is somebody who could just as well be Bond's friend and ally as well as his worst enemy. Silva's constant coolness and quirky personality are always present but sometimes OUT OF NOWHERE Silva just show's his grim true colors. He is undoubtedly insane but somehow also in an understandable way (you have to see the movie to understand).
His planning, insane but somewhat friendly persona are unnervingly creepy, reaching its climax at the final showdown.

By the way, isn't it funny how weirdo characters like Jack Sparrow, The Joker and Silva always manage to stick out the most and remain most memorable in movies? Just saying.


Javier Bardem as Silva completely steals the show.

Overall, i can honestly say that Skyfall is my favorite Bond movie yet. With its excellent pacing, action scenes, awesome as hell atmosphere and best and by far creepiest villain in Bond history, it rightfully deserved its place as one of the best Bond movies to date, if not THE best (but that's also a question of taste). Yet, there is no denying that it is by far the best out of the three Craig Bonds!
However, with Skyfall a new era of Bond is ushered in. I am very curious in which way the Bond adventures will evolve and unfold from now on. Definitely a landmark in the franchise and a strong contender for best movie of the year, Skyfall.  


 


Final Verdict: 9 out of 10 




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