James Betsalel’s review published on Letterboxd:
In the 23rd film commemorating the series 50th anniversary Skyfall continuously puts forward the question "do we need Bond anymore?". Giving fans, and even naysayers to the series, the most invigorating installment yet the answer is a resounding yes. Truthfully if this was to be the final outing for the character there would have been no better encore than this. I can't imagine it being surpassed, at least anytime soon.
Firing on all cylinders thanks to the Mendes Deacon combo Bond has never looked this good with not a shakey cam insight. Craig is absolutely vicious in the part giving us a more aged and violent 007 than we've ever seen. Judi Dench's M is given a substantial role for her last outing as M. One could argue that she is actually this film's Bond girl. Being as much of a treasure as ever with the witty banter between her and Craig is a constant highlight. Plus I'm going to say Javier Bardem is one of the best villains in these films and the most memorable since I don't know, Sean Bean who came full 17 years before this?
Striking an immaculate balance between new and old forging a movie that is definitively the best of both worlds keeping the new aesthetic while still possessing a back to basics vibe. The action is over the top (did scenes of this inspire John Wick?) without losing the comprehensive realism and noticeably absent fan-favorite characters are reintroduced brought with innovative twists.
It even corrects the greatest weakness of Casino Royale and instrumental flaw of Quantum by having a straight forward plot that breaks the sacrilegious continuing continuity held by the two all without losing any of the newfound intelligence, maturity, or depth. The plot starts typically large with motorcycles on roofs and a CAT tearing up a train then continuously strips itself down gradually devolving until we're left with a brutally simple and personal climax.
Small gripes aside such as the villains inanely prophetic breakout plan, maybe one too many callbacks, and heavy Dark Knight inspirations this is still one of the best. Not just a good Bond film but an excellent genre film in general.