‘Skyfall’ sets new standard for 21st century Bond films

new-5star

An improved script and powerful action scenes set ‘Skyfall’ as the best of the Daniel Craig’s, James Bond films.

In the newest installment of the James Bond franchise, a terrorist attack on M16 prompts 007 to return after he was believed to be dead. A mastermind with a history of Bond’s government intelligence organization seeks revenge, and starts a game of cat and mouse with the entire fate of M16 on the line, along with the life of one of Bond’s closest associates.

“Skyfall” will surpass expectations. The third of the Daniel Craig, James Bond films, “Skyfall” did right what “Quantum of Solace” and “Casino Royal” did wrong; it stopped treading water, and started taking risks. While the previous two films had good action sequences, it suffered from an attempt to keep a safe broad appeal, but this made them feel too sterile, stagnant and predictable. In comparison, “Skyfall” successfully breaks this pattern, and makes for a memorable and exciting addition to the series.

What stands out most in “Skyfall” is the script, one of the most improved elements. For the first time in a while we get a Bond film that raises the stakes by taking away Bond’s apparent invulnerability. The story takes place after a botched mission leaves Bond injured, rusty and now aging. We don’t get much of our normal focus on an unimportant sacrificial Bond-girl. Instead, we get an exploration of Bond’s relationship with his long-time friend and commander, M (Judi Dench, “J. Edgar”). The villain this time around is an interesting character who has a captivating personality and back-story; enough so that I would not be surprised if he is considered one of the best Bond villains for a long time to come. The plot takes a couple unexpected twist and turns to keep you thrilled through the entire runtime and the quick pacing never gives to a chance you lose interest.

Second only to the writing are the astounding central performances. Daniel Craig is great; he gets a chance to show what he can do by playing a slightly more complicated 007, and pulling it off well. Judi Dench’s role as M, has a more significant part this time around. Like Craig, she takes the opportunity to show off her skill, and is truly better than ever. Finally, as mentioned above, the “Skyfall” villain really stands out. Javier Bardem plays the perfect creep, with both a strange campiness, and chilling darkness. It’s hard to think of a villain that is stolen the show so well since “The Dark Knight’s” Joker.

Action has always been a specialty of this series, but I have not seen action this intense and over the top in a long time. The action scenes hit you with everything they have got. Amazing special effects made every explosion shake you, and even made a subway train crashing through an underground tunnel system look realistic. Every chase, every big moment of suspense was well executed, engaging and heart pounding. It also did not hurt at all that “Skyfall” had some stunning cinematography, where even the shots themselves were interesting and visually stimulating.

While I would recommend “Skyfall,” it is not without its faults. It is less impressive when it makes cyber-terrorism look like it is committed using 90s video game technology. More importantly though, it does suffer from a problem Bond movies have had for a long time; plot holes. Usually issues like this would at least take the viewer out of a movie, but the film was immersive enough that it does not become a problem. I suppose this should just be something of note for those who can be nitpicky about that sort of thing. This movie has all you could possibly want from a Bond film and more.