Third Time’s The Charm
Welcome to “Bond In Review”, a series of reviews looking back at the most recent incarnation of James Bond, played by Daniel Craig. Skyfall is the 3rd film featuring Daniel Craig’s Bond. The events in Skyfall directly lead into the highly anticipated Spectre, in theaters now. Skyfall breathed much needed life into the franchise that received a negative blow after Quantum of Solace. Where Casino Royale was a high point, Quantum of Solace was a definite low point for Craig’s Bond installments. Skyfall brought the Bond films back to a point where they are not only entertaining, but also possess a plot that audiences can once again respect. Quantum of Solace’s plot was lacking, so to see a well developed story where the audience is engaged at all points puts the current Bond films back on track. Bond faces off against Silva, a mysterious villain that carries a personal vendetta against James Bond and M. A failed mission in the opening of the film is followed up by a violent attack on the MI6 headquarters. The two discover they are being attacked by Silva, a man who operates on the same playing field as they do and their enemy may have been an MI6 agent. Now they must stop this unknown threat before the situation spirals out of control. Starring in this movie is Daniel Craig as Bond, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Berenice Marlohe, Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear, Ola Rapace, Albert Finney, and Judi Dench as M.
When I first saw Skyfall’s initial teaser trailer, I was enthralled by the enigmatic tone it presented. It seemed so mysterious and hinted at a strong personal tie between “Skyfall” and Bond. The trailer for Spectre had a similar vibe so I’m definitely excited to see what this latest film will present. With Sam Mendes returning to direct I’m confident Spectre will be another solid installment. Let’s get back to Skyfall for now. As mentioned earlier Skyfall is a vast improvement from Quantum of Solace and brings the series back to where it should be. Quantum of Solace was too fast paced, and relied heavily on action rather than the story and its characters. Skyfall mixes up entertaining action with a mesmerizing and deeper story. The story had quality writing that chose to favor story over crazy action scenes and enormous set pieces. Don’t worry though! There’s plenty of action in the film for you to enjoy. Skyfall also brings back certain classic elements and cleverly pokes fun at others.
Bond, M, and MI6
Skyfall fills its interesting storyline with fleshed out characters that were sorely missing in Quantum of Solace. Craig does a phenomenal job as Bond once again. It’s this caliber of acting he presents in Skyfall that Quantum of Solace didn’t give him the chance to showcase. Craig presents a Bond that is vulnerable, somewhat angry, and possibly out of his element. Bond finds himself shot and presumed dead in the film’s opening sequence, something that has never happened in a 007 film. He uses his “death” to escape to an isolated island and ponder his career. The transition is short lived when Bond finds himself back at headquarters with M after an attack on MI6. Although M admits that she needs him, Bond’s time away from service reveal some extreme vulnerabilities. Bond’s abilities are questioned by everyone, something that hasn’t been portrayed in a Bond film. Judi Dench’s character, M, plays a significant role in this film, and does an excellent job. It’s no surprise as she’s played the role of M since the Pierce Brosnan era of Bond, so one can already expect her to bring a high power of acting talent to the current Bond films and her character. As mentioned M definitely registers with this plot on a personal level compared to previous films and she’s not just seen as Bond’s boss who time and time again has to cover and reprimand him when things go awry on his missions. Javier Bardem plays the antagonist in this film and brings a gravitas to the role of his character, Silva. The most we know about Silva is that he has some relation to Bond and M, and harbors ill will toward both of them. It’s extremely entertaining to watch Bardem grace the screen in Skyfall as he plays a multi-layered villain. Silva is damaged, and insane, but consistently outwits Bond and MI6. Skyfall also includes an array of new supporting roles. Ben Whishaw enters the Craig-Era of Bond as Q, a character familiar to fans of classic Bond films. He acts as the man who supplies Bond with various gadgets and equipment for Bond’s missions. The film cleverly plays on Q’s role and his first meeting with Bond. We also have the Bond Women: Naomie Harris as Eve and Berenice Marlohe as Severine. Both give excellent performances and are entertaining to watch on screen. Seeing their chemistry with Craig only adds to the quality of this film. Rory Kinnear returns as Tanner, M’s assistant. While he doesn’t have many scenes it’s nice to see another returning character. Ralph Fiennes’ Gareth Mallory is a newly introduced character. Mallory is a political figure who must undo the damage done in the opening failed mission. Ola Rapace plays Patrice, a gun-for-hire that Bond pursues throughout the film. Albert Finney enters as Kincade, an elderly man associated with Bond’s past. While there isn’t an extremely heavy weight to his character it’s interesting to see what role he plays or did play in Bond’s life.
A Fitting Installment
Skyfall definitely brings the Bond franchise back up to a qualitative stature similar to that of Casino Royale. It brought a much needed invigoration that puts Bond movies back on track and allows future Bond movies to be made along the storyline of Craig’s Bond. This is of course if Craig is up for coming back to star in another Bond film after Spectre. That aside the ending of Skyfall sets up this series of Bond films to go forward utilizing classic elements from the older movies that huge Bond fans will recognize right away. If you’ve been keeping up with Bond, I highly suggest watching this film before seeing Spectre, in theaters on November 6, 2015. Even if you’re not into Bond I still suggest you watch this. The movie is written in such a way that it stands alone without you needing to see Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. I suppose that’s needed, given Quantum brought things down to a low point. Anyhow go watch Skyfall and I hope you enjoy as much as I did! If you missed our past reviews in “Bond In Review”, check them out below: