Skyfall ★★★


Bond, James Bond: The Official Letterboxd Ranking

Like the The Dark Knight, I was thrilled by the dark gravitas of the tone set by the music and the themes of a special hero- a knight in a new age of anarchy where all the old rules are getting ejected and replaced by who-knows-what, and yes, all the fan service. Despite the incredible Adele theme song which recalls Shirley Bassey, the un-Bond-like score by Thomas Newman is warmed over Hans Zimmer without the urgency. The villain, played with elegance and assurity- if not originality- by Xavier Bardem is incredulously 10 steps ahead of our heroes just like Heath Ledger's Joker. Mi6 and the London police force are nameless, faceless cannon fodder- more useful as an emotional image by the Union Jack covered-coffins they inhabit- are irrelevant as HQ moves underground and seemingly we are left with Alfred, Gordon and Lucius Fox er, I mean 'Q', Tanner and Mallory. We get a trip to China, this time to Shanghai instead of Hong Kong. We get a shocking explosion of a city building, reminiscent of the Dark Knight poster. And we get a lot of unmourned collateral damage when Bardem's Raoul Silva causes a catastrophic London Underground disaster (by the way, precisely blows up the wall just where Bond is standing?) like that Superman movie or the Avengers movie.

Now, I'm not arguing that this movie is not good because it's ridiculous: I wouldn't have enjoyed ANY Bond movie for that sole reason. It's just that it is glomming from all the current action/adventure tropes from super hero/comic book movies and doesn't really feel like a James Bond flick.

We've seen them do this before in the series: Live and Let Die took from the blaxploitation tropes of its time, The Man With the Golden Gun incorporated some kung fu Shaw Bros for some contemporary flavor, and the one movie that proved a disaster for selling it's soul to become something it wasn't- The Star Warsizing of Moonraker. Could be I'm just fatigued by these super serious DC/Marvel flicks plaguing us for almost 10 years and that's what's grating me with Skyfall, maybe that's what will make this one a fan favorite in time. But there are some elements which still hold up, the elements that I loved the first time I watched this and will bring me back for future viewings.

The acting is still top-notch in the Craig Era. He's good. Judi Dench gets the exit she deserves, as the
“Bond Girl” whom 007 loses in the end, the one who was right in front of him the whole time. Not a romantic attachment this time but so much deeper. She helped him come back from losing Vesper. He will help her to deal with the guilt her position and profession causes her. She can't afford to get to attached to her agents and her best agent 007, whos been to hell and back, gives her permission to forgive herself when she loses them. And we get the 'Q' and the 'Moneypenny' we've wanted since the Golden Age of Bond. Wasn't it worth 3 Craig movies to set their entrance up right? That is the right kind of fan service and I still got the goosebumps when we enter the office: THE coat rack, “My name is Eve. Eve Moneypenny” (*siggggghhhhhh*) that red-brown leather upholstered door to, wait for it...'M's office! And...a new 'M'! Played by Ralph Fiennes ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!? The dossier is back, for Bonds Eyes Only. In fact let's just watch it

I just hope in the next Bond movie we get back to work. With pleasure, 'M'. With pleasure.

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