Skyfall ★★★★

Skyfall directed by Sam Mendes is the 23rd entry and marked the 50th anniversary of the series follows Bond as he goes after a cyber-terrorist while his past and age are catching up to him. Daniel Craig gives another excellent performance as Bond and gets to show a varied range of emotions, having a bit more fun with the role. Javier Bardem as Raoul Silva is absolutely phenomenal and gets probably the best introduction to a villain in the series with a long ominous shot of him walking towards Bond with his twisted anecdote about killing rats and comparing himself and Bond to be the last two rats standing. He is eccentric and larger-than-life, an extreme in the antagonist scale compared to the bland Dominic Greene and the cool and reserved Le Chiffre in the two previous films.

Judi Dench as M gets to be the main focus of the film along with Bond and Dench gives a compelling performance that caps off 17 years of being The Evil Queen of Numbers and a mother figure to Bond. Ralph Fiennes as Gareth Mallory is amazing and the film keeps his character as a mystery till the second half and why would you trust Mallory at first instance when he looks suspiciously similar to Voldemort who died just the year before:). Bérénice Marlohe as Sévérine is stunning, managing to shift from seductive to confident to angry to scared in a highlight scene, a character whose story I would have loved to see more of in the film as sadly she is abruptly taken out of the narrative. Naomie Harris as Eve and Ben Whishaw as Q give new spins on established characters that may be hit-or-miss with fans and audiences but I found them to be a new and different take on the characters.

The action sequences are well done and exhilarating but do lack the masterful execution of the action sequences in Casino Royale and John Glen's films. The editing is well done and is refreshing to see the action sequences without getting a panic attack. The cinematography by Roger Deakins is truly mesmerizing and a work of art, easily making it the most beautiful film in the series. The score by Thomas Newman is magnificent and rightfully winning the BAFTA Award for Best Film Music and the second film in the series to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score. The title song performed by Adele is a majestic ballad that harkens back to the classical title songs making it an instant classic.

Watching this film back in 2012 with all the hype, anticipation, and finally seeing a Bond film after the quanundrum that happened both in front and behind the scenes with Quantum being a middling affair, the series' relevance, and MGM's bankruptcy along with another four-year gap was an enjoyable and memorable experience. Watching the film now, I can't help but notice the similarities to The Dark Knight, the villain-gets-captured-has-scenes-with-main-characters-in-cell-then-suddenly-breaks-out-like-a-champ-in-already-well-thought-out-plan cliché that has become a bit overused nowadays, Silva being an over-overcompensation of a Bond villain, feeling like a different character with a different personality as the narrative goes on rather than having one core trait, motivation or personality, The Batmanish origins of Bond with Albert Finney as Kincade who is basically Alfred (thank goodness Connery wasn't brought back), and the old vs new theme of the film that falls a bit for Craig who was the newly assigned 007 agent becoming Bond we know in the first two films and by the second mission he is old and worn out which is like having Roger Moore's third outing being A View to a Kill or Hugh Jackman's third film as Wolverine being Logan.

There is a feeling of one or even two films missing which could have driven the message of the film home harder. Quantum being a direct sequel might have messed it up as I now focused more on the film making sense in relation to the previous two more than seeing it as unique and self-contained as the films are supposed to be. In the end, Skyfall is a sleek, strong, and dazzling film that celebrates the legacy of the character while also creating a unique experience that ensures the longevity of the character in the years to come.

James Bond will return in Spectre.

Vaibhav Ravi Mahadevan liked these reviews