It is hard to imagine that James Bond is fifty years old but he's looking good. The most recent actor to portray Agent 007 is British actor Daniel Craig reprising the role in his third Bond film, "Skyfall" (2012). While other films in the franchise place Bond in random missions, Craig's threequel has set up a personal evolution of the agent himself as a man and how he relates to his job.
In "Casino Royale" (2006), Bond's image was reconstructed as a trained killer with a soft heart. But after facing betrayal by his former lover, Bond was hellbent on revenge in "Quantum of Solace" (2008). With the newest addition of "Skyfall" (2012), this threequel takes the franchise to an exciting level.
James Bond (Daniel Craig) has made a hobby out of resurrection. While chasing his current dangerous target, Bond is fatally wounded by a fellow agent and assumed dead. In his absence, M's (Judi Dench) past has come back to haunt her. When we challenged to believe that Bond is down and out for good, the security is of MI6 is threatened by a former operative Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), prompting his return to exact justice once more.
Above all else, "Skyfall" is a love letter dedicated to two central
characters: James Bond and M. For over 20 films we have come to known Bond in different ways from the different actors who have portrayed him. My personal favorite is Daniel Craig. The style and story of his Bond has created ever deepening layers of the calculated agent and challenged his emotions to not interfere with his work. As well, with M., we've come to know her as Judi Dench in six films of the entire series. Though her character's professional relationship with Bond has always been a prime connection, much of her role has been reduced to a cameo maker giving Bond orders. In this newest addition, their trusting professional relationship is locked into a mother and son bond, which is put on a live-or-let-die roller coaster.
As much as the film builds on familiar faces, it also grows into an
ensemble film with fresh look for MI6. In the former installments set in the 1970s through 1990s, Bond girls were often reduced to bikini hangers and fellow spy operatives to one-note technological smarties. However both Naomie Harris as "Emma Moneypenny" as well as Berenice Lim Marlohe as "Severine" both provide well-rounded characters. The time spent on-screen between Daniel Craig and Naomie Harris especially is full of fun and sexual tension. But, as a Bond girl, the script never diminishes her character to make Bond the bigger player.
Although "Casino Royale" (2006) and "Quantum of Solace" (2012) were great building blocks for Bond, they lacked in creating a believable or even interesting villain. "Skyfalls"'s Javier Bardem, donning a blond do a la Fred in Scooby Do, creates a chilling antagonist not to be messed with. Without emotionality and strung up on vengeance, Bardem's "Silva" makes you question and wonder if he has what it takes to definitively defeat Bond.
Director Sam Mendes and his cinematographer beautifully compose the
landscape of Bond's world. If you don't find this to be cinematography eye candy, The fight sequences between Bond and his opponents take place everywhere from on top of a speeding train to a darkened room of mirrors and shadows, and they are constructed with stunning silhouettes and light effects. Cinematically, Skyfalls' production is as eye-catching as it has never been before.
Adele's ballad for the films' opening credits kicks off with a few stirring words: This is the end. The song's theme points strongly that the sky will fall but when Bond crumbles he will also stand tall. After two and a half hours of at-the-edge-of-your-seat thrills, we find there is a new beginning in every ending. And, it's one that is satisfactorily spent.