Skyfall ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Who would have thought that mixing "Home Alone" and "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" would make such a splendid Bond movie?

"Skyfall" (2012) - James Bond-a-thon film #24

Just like James T. Kirk in the second Star Trek film, James Bond has to face the fact he is an aging agent. Spying is a young man's game, and it's in doubt if he still can keep up. To make things worse, Bond is also suffering from uranium poisoning. His strength is in decline, and so is his aim. Decay and death are the most prominent themes of the movie.

Sam Mendes was the perfect choice as the director of the movie. Not only brings he his sensibilities for exquisite dramatic scenes to the table, but his cinematographer Roger Deakins is also along for the ride and conjures up some of the most beautiful imagery the series has ever seen. One of the movie's biggest strengths is also its greatest weakness: There is a playful side to the film, where you feel the joy the makers to reintroduce elements (like Moneypenny, the megalomaniac crazy villain, or the return of over-the-top action instead of more grounded stunt work). But you can't deny this is just a trip into nostalgia, so it all feels vaguely familiar.

Even if the movie lacks some innovation, the whole cast makes up for it. Dame Judy Dench never treated her role as "M" as something beneath her capabilities. This pays off mightily in her second to last - and very moving - appearance as Bond's superior. Ralph Fiennes, as politician Gareth Mallory, is excellent in leaving his intentions in doubt for most of the runtime. It makes it so much more satisfying when he finally reveals his true character. Javier Bardem's psychotic turn as the big bad is a masterclass in how to chew scenery.

The movie is a delight from start to finish.

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