When Daniel Craig took the role of James Bond over from Pierce Brosnan, directors knew that they needed to take the series in a different direction. Yeah, maybe it was cool in the 90’s to have outlandish sequences involving invisible cars and exploding pens, but the creators and Craig knew that this Bond needed to be different.
The Bond that we have today evolved from a silly, suave secret agent into a rugged, visceral killer without a real hint of remorse, only the desire to do what is right for Queen and country. Skyfall is the latest film in the series following a true gem, Casino Royale, and a not so fantastic, Quantum of Solace. The film opens with yet another great chase scene that feels very much like Casino Royale’s parkour opening except with motorcycles.
Quickly it is made known that Bond is chasing a man holding a hard drive that has a list of secret agent’s names and identities on it. The sequence ends on a train where another MI6 operative “takes the shot” and ends up hitting Bond instead of the target. This sequence of events leads to the destruction of MI6 and Bond resurrects himself to take care of business.
James Bond films have a history of large set pieces, intense fight scenes, and great villains. On all of these subjects, Skyfall does not disappoint. The movie is grand in scale. It takes the audience to Hong Kong, Macau, the Highlands in Scotland, London, and other highly visual landscapes.
The fight scenes are filmed back so that we can fully witness the physical prowess and intense hand-to-hand combat, while not losing who is who in tightly framed shots. Skyfall presents one of the most beautiful fight sequences I have seen, which takes place in the shadows of a Hong Kong skyscraper. The villain, Silva, played by Javier Bardem, is the perfect mixture of cold and calculated while blending in a little mischievousness and flamboyancy. Bardem shines as one of the best villain actors working today. His character is fueled by torture and betrayal and is on his path to revenge. The mixture of these elements is what helps make Skyfall stand out among the rest of the Bond movies.
Among the rest of Craig’s Bond movies lies a very odd pacing compared to most other action films. The movie is non-stop excitement with a break in the middle to introduce the main villain of the piece. This normally would not be an issue, but the movie feels like it contains multiple climaxes. It also has maybe one too many near miss scenarios, in which the audience believes that Bond has captured the villain, but the villain is able to nearly escape.
When the third act finally comes to a close, though, Skyfall bows out with some western flair and a heart-wrenching last stand. Other than the slight off-putting nature of the pacing, the film is by far one of the best Bond films of all time and a great spy thriller in general. For Bond’s 50th birthday, audiences got a present in the form of Skyfall.
Article by Tyler Comstock