Everything about the latest Bond film far and away exceeds its last outing, The Quantum of Solace. From the awesome Bond song, “Skyfall” by Adele, to Javier Bardem’s Bond villain and Judi Dench’s M makes this movie one of the better Bond films.
The basic premise of Skyfall is someone has stolen a hard drive that contains the list of the real identities of MI6 agents that are under deep cover in Middle East terrorist cells and this person is going to expose 5 people’s identities a week. All of this is a revenge plot against M (Judi Dench) who gave up one of her agents for the better good of the country.
This villain is played to over the top deliciousness by Javier Bardem. He made for a wonderful Bond villain and totally unforgettable unlike the villain in The Quantum of Solace, who I can’t remember who that was.
The film started with a thrilling chase across Istanbul with a new agent (Naomie Harris) as his backup but during the chase, this agent, on orders from M, took a shot that was meant for the bad guy but ended up “killing” Bond, who remained dead until there was an attack on MI6 and M.
So Bond reappears and we get introduced to a new “Q” (Ben Whishaw), who provides Bond with a gun that only will work for him and a radio transmitter that will help people locate him. I wished actually that we got a more traditional Q scene where we got to see some cool gadgets but the screenplay did give a wink to that to which I chuckled. Q here is more of a tech geek than a gadget nerd.
Anyways, because of the whole list leak, M is being forced to retire by Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes). We don’t really know whose side Mallory is on. Is he evil or one of the good guys. And considering that Ralph Fiennes plays him, you just don’t know but more on that later.
The film’s big action sequence takes place at Bond’s childhood home that looks an awful lot like where they could have filmed any version of Wuthering Heights.
I don’t want to give too much away so I will stop with the plot synopsis.
What I loved most about Skyfall is that M is really in the thick of the action in this movie and, to me, is actually the true Bond girl in this movie. It is odd to see Judi Dench wield a gun but she more than holds her own against Bardem, Craig and Fiennes.
And I liked the new Q. Whishaw was very cute and I enjoyed his banter with Craig.
The script is also peppered with a lot of humour than I can recall in most recent Bond films and this seems more natural quippy humour that I love so credit goes to Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan. And Sam Mendes does a great job balancing the action sequences with some of the quieter moments.
Craig was in fine action form as Bond and I can see him play Bond one more time before handing the reigns off to another person.
Now I am entering some spoiler territory so if you haven’t seen Skyfall yet and want to then I would stop reading the rest of this review.
I saw this film as setting up the next generation. When Fiennes came on screen and talked about pushing M into retirement, I actually saw Fiennes being the next M in the next Bond movie and this was 20 minutes into the movie. What I didn’t see or didn’t want to happen is Judi Dench’s M dying. I really loved her as M. She was the first woman to play M and was M for 7 Bond films. So I will miss Dench dearly in future Bond films but there needed to be a succession plan and Fiennes will make a great M. He needs to be in a hero part to balance the fact that he played one of the most evil character in film history (Voldemort).
Another thing that I saw coming, well at least 2 minutes before it was revealed, was that Naomie Harris was going to be Miss Moneypenny. How I knew was the moment she said she wasn’t cut out to be a field agent. That is when I knew she was Moneypenny.
So it feels like Skyfall was rebooting itself in the end as we have a new M, a new Q, we get introduced to Miss Moneypenny but we still have the same Bond. With the new crew, I look forward to seeing Bond’s next adventure.