Now this is a great friggin flick. After the mediocre last movie, we finally get a worthy follow up to Casino Royale. But the Bond in this movie is very different than he was back then. They put a lot of emphasis on the fact that he’s an older Bond, at the end of his rope a little bit. Which is weird, because back when Craig was first introduced the whole emphasis of the character was a younger Bond just starting out. It’s like we skipped the entire bulk of his career and went right from Year One to The Dark Knight Returns. I guess it makes sense, if Quantum is set right after Casino, and Casino takes place when it was made, that means he’s been at this six years by the time we get to Skyfall, which realistically is a long time in the world of a 00 agent. I know it doesn’t seem like that long because these movies have been going for half a century, but each mission only takes, what a few weeks, maybe a month, so in six years you would see a lot of shit. But this movie also delves deeper into Bond ever before. His character was very stripped down in Casino Royale, but this is by far the most bare we’ve ever seen him. He’s getting old, and he’s not sure he’s up to the task of doing this any more. There’s a line in Casino Royale about “if you do this for long enough, how much of your soul can you salvage?”. Well, now Bond has been at this pretty long, and he’s forced to question how much of himself is really left. We’ve now stripped away every layer of class and sophistication and are left with only the absolute purest bare bones version of the character. It’s the first time it ever feels like we’re meeting the real Bond, and that’s pretty impressive from the 23rd film in a franchise. And the whole movie sort of centres around this central them of Bond getting older and questioning his place in the world, from the subplot of M being forced into retirement, to all the questions of how much we even need MI6, and even the way the villain is a former agent who was betrayed and left for dead, making Bond question what the future holds for him if he stays in this line of work. And all this doubt is causing him to lose his nerve and is hurting his performance in the field, making the action more high stakes because he’s not at his best. It’s kind of like Spider-Man 2.
Anyway, all that stuff alone would probably be enough to make this a great standout film in the franchise, but there’s so many other great things too. First of all, Judy Dench finally gets a shit ton of screentime, which is great, because she’s so awesome. Her relationship with Bond is really interesting, and it’s cool to finally see it explored, and it’s a great way for her to go out, instead of just being replaced between movies. We also get a really great villain, in Javier Bardem. As I mentioned, he’s a former 00 agent. M sold him out years ago and now he’s back for revenge. He’s got a fucked up half dissolved face due to a hydrogen cyanide capsule that failed to kill him. He’s a villain who loves to monologue, and he’s a lot of fun to watch, while also managing to be very intimidating, and also somewhat sympathetic. And for the first gay Bond villain, I have to say, very tastefully done. The action is great too, from the chase on the train at the beginning to the whole thing in the subway tunnels in London, to the finale, which everyone makes fun of for being like Home Alone, but I think is pretty cool. Yes, it’s a much smaller more personal finale, but it fits with the movie. The rustic location mirrors the way the class and sophistication have been stripped away from Bond, and it’s fitting that he should have to go back to the place where he became what he was in order to become that again. The other big thing that everyone points out about this movie is how the bad guy’s plan makes no sense. It’s a fair criticism. He has to get Bond to come after him, get captured, explode MI6 headquarters to force them to move underground, build his virus, know that Q would decrypt it while he was in the building so that he could escape into the subway tunnels, all times perfectly to the second so he can throw the train at Bond, and what it all boils down to is that he runs into a building in a police uniform and shoots at M. And misses. I mean, you could have just flown to London and gotten a police uniform, was that whole middle part really necessary? Yeah, it’s kind of dumb. I never said this movie was without flaws. It’s also pretty reminiscent of the Joker’s plan from The Dark Knight, or Loki’s plan from The Avengers, but I would again argue that that’s simply to do with the franchise resembling action movie trends of the time. In 2006, Bourne was huge, so they did it like that. In 2012, the new thing is superhero movies, so there’s a little bit of that in there. No, this movie may not be perfect, and Casino Royale is definitely a tighter story, but it’s got exciting action, intelligent and emotional themes relevant to the franchise, a great cast of both actors and characters, and it’s beautifully shot. I mean, if you can’t appreciate this movie’s cinematography in an era where every other movie you see is just fucking blue and orange all the time, then you’re an asshole. Oh, and on top of all that they finally actually made Moneypenny a strong and interesting character who’s relevant to what’s happening in the movie. This is my favourite of the Daniel Craig movies, and might even be the best overall. It has it’s flaws but it’s a more interesting creative piece of art than most other action movie, and for me that will always make it more fun to watch.
Overall Rating: Like, fucking dope, yo/10