I didn’t realize it until it was over but Skyfall was the first real James Bond movie starring Daniel Craig. Casino Royale always felt like a Jason Bourne movie with a British guy in a nice suit and the less said about of Solace, the better. Skyfall was half reboot/half course correction for the Bond franchise.
One of the biggest strengths of this iteration of Bond is the relationship between Bond and M (Judi Dench). Craig and Dench have great chemistry and are great foils for one another. As much as Vesper Lynd has been positioned as Bond’s one true love, I’d argue that it is M.
Javier Bardem as Raoul Silva was more of a classic Bond villain in that he was over the top and hammy (but in an entertaining way). He was almost the Joker for this Bond. Bardem made some interesting…choices but he was the best villain Craig’s Bond has faced thus far.
I was worried when Sam Mendes was announced as director for Skyfall. The director of Revolutionary Road and American Beauty didn’t seem like a great fit especially since their last unconventional choice, Marc Foster, led to one of the worst Bond movies ever (the aforementioned Quantum of Solace). Mendes made a great film. It was one of the best looking Bond films ever, if not the best (credit to cinematographer Roger Deakins). It dragged for a bit towards the end but I wouldn’t mind seeing Mendes return when Bond does.
I’m curious to see what the next Bond film will look like. After seemingly resisting, they have finally expanded the Bond mythology and returned to the roots of the franchise. I hope this means that the expanded MI6 cast members – Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Ralph Fiennes – will be returning as well. I don’t want to say anything about their roles but longtime Bond fans will be pleased by the end of the film.