Skyfall has been deemed by many to be the "best Bond yet." But not so fast. Although this twenty-third film in the Bond series is a very good movie, let's not get carried away. This is Daniel Craig's third Bond film. He hit a high with Casino Royale but was a letdown in Quantum of Solace. It seems the makers of these movies are still trying to decide exactly who Craig's James Bond is.
In Skyfall he starts off as a man with a mission, and it ends with his death. At least others think he is dead, including his boss "M" (Judi Dench). She sells his flat and writes his obituary, and then he reappears live and doing fine. M is happy to have him back but others are skeptical of whether or not he is fit for duty. This includes M's colleague Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes). At this point Bond appears to be a little scruffy and haunted by his past.
As the movie moves forward we get a chance to see if Bond is back and better than ever or if he still has a past to overcome. Luckily finding this out involves chasing a villain named Silva (Javier Bardem) who wants to take revenge on M. In order to protect her Bond must stay close to her side and that means more screen time for Dench, which is always a good thing.
At one point in the movie Bond and M go to Scotland to the Bond family estate, a place called Skyfall. The caretaker there is a man named Kincade (Albert Finney), who insists on calling M "Emma." This is one of the most naturally funny bits in the film. At least it was to me.
There are some attempts at one-liners such as the ones Sean Connery and especially Roger Moore used to utter. They interrupt the flow of the film and seem out of place. So does the appearance of the fabled Aston Martin. It just doesn't fit the image of the "new "Bond.
So who is Daniel Craig supposed to be -- the sophisticated, tuxedo-clad, witty and wise Connery-type Bond, or a more intellectual and haunted one? This movie leans more towards the latter but there are hints this image might not last. That is one of the movies failings. It also does not seem to recognize that the more Bond and M are fighting the bad guys together the better the movie is. Dench is pure heaven in the role of M.
The film is rated PG-13 for profanity and violence.
There are a couple of "Bond" women in the film. Calling them "girls" somehow now appears demeaning. They are Naomie Harris and Bérénice Marlohe. Neither is really very important to the film. Bardem makes an interesting villain but his motivations are murky and his ability to do some of the things he does suspect.
In the end it all comes down to how easily you accept Craig as Bond and how much you appreciate his interpretation of the role as defined by director Sam Mendes. This may be his best Bond film yet but you anticipate the best is yet to be.
I scored Skyfall a crumbling 6 out of 10.