Skyfall ★★★★★

The 2012 entry into the 007 series, Skyfall, hits the ground running by depicting Daniel Craig's James Bond as an instrument of British Secret Service and as an instrument that is ultimately expendable. The difference between James Bond and his character foil, Silva, a creepy villain and former Secret Service agent portrayed by Javier Bardem, is that Silva allows circumstances to shape his core principles and personal ethics, while Bond remains steadfast and true to his principles against any and all challenges and hardships. Like Akira Kurosawa's brilliant film, Stray Dog, that provided a character contrast between a police officer and a murderer of similar backgrounds in postwar Japan, this Bond movie succeeds not only as an entertaining action flick, but as a worthwhile moral study for our ever-changing modern times.

Skyfall features some of the most interesting cinematography of any of the Bond films, courtesy of Roger Deakins, especially during a mind-blowing sequence in Shanghai, and the story carries us through a world of espionage where everything familiar is fast becoming obsolete. Daniel Craig's James Bond is rough, tough, and unshakeable despite all, and his devotion to Judi Dench's M is the centerpiece of this particular entry into the Bond series. The women are beautiful, the gadgets are cool, and the villain is a nice bit of nastiness, but the real fireworks here are the interactions between Craig and Dench that need no special effects.

Skyfall is a solid addition to the Bond series and an impressive story on its own terms. This is not my favorite James Bond film of all, but it occupies a high ranking on the list.

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