Skyfall ★★★★★

A magnificent 50th birthday for the James Bond series, Skyfall is a gloriously confident piece of work from a creative team firing on all cylinders; from Mendes' sharp direction, to a brilliantly layered script and not forgetting Roger Deakins' sensational photography.

Much is made of the fact that Craig's Bond goes from renegade new agent in the previous two movies to a middle aged has-been here, but it affords Skyfall a chance to have fun with a story as much about the Bond franchise's own fifty year existence and relevance.

The film retains Casino Royale's sense of verisimilitude, with Craig's Bond a superbly layered character with mountains of depth, while the film puts its focus on the character's relationship with M and with it a brilliant performance from Judi Dench as the two find themselves up against a villainous psycho whose motives go beyond mere megalomaniacal plotting.

Javier Bardem makes for an intense and unforgettable antagonist and, even more brilliantly, instead of trying to outdo itself come the final act, the film goes for a more personal, smaller scale fight to the death that ups the emotional stakes considerably and in a manner that legitimately makes the film one of the very best of the series.

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