Skyfall (2012) Review – Merging of the Eras

Ah, Skyfall. The one that went, ‘what if we slowly steered Craig’s Bond back to what Bond used to be’. This is where Craig’s series started to be more cheesy – not that, as I’ve noted, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace weren’t also over the top. But here’s where there was a real tonal shift for Craig that’s subtle at first, but which echoes through Spectre and No Time To Die much louder.

Skyfall is the last time Craig’s Bond would be taken as seriously as he has been up until this point. He is tasked with bringing in Silvia, an ex MI6 agent who M left to die in exchange for the lives of other agents. Now out for revenge, Bond must also protect M as well as putting an end to Silvia’s schemes.

Now this film is an odd one for Craig. It’s still as grounded as to have the final battle be Bond in a house shooting 6-10 dudes maximum (small by Bond standards anyway), but starts to push things in other aspects by reintroducing gadgets to the franchise. Bond gets a nifty gun that only he can fire (in an annoying scene he doesn’t retrieve it after it’s dropped) and his Aston Martin with an ejector seat and machine guns under the lights.

It’s mature enough to let Judi Dench’s M die with dignity in a pretty good scene, but boastful enough to play the Bond theme over Miss Moneypenny and a new male M standing in a brown office offering Bond his next mission.

I guess they were thinking Craig’s gritty Bond was getting played out, maybe because Quantum of Solace wasn’t exactly good or because they simply wanted to take the new series somewhere new (ironic since they took it somewhere old).

It’s not that I don’t like the corny direction they began steering the series in here, but that it feels a bit counter intuative to what Craig’s Bond is supposed to be about. His fist fights here are as quick and nasty as before, but he doesn’t bleed or bruise as bad.

As someone who liked Casino Royale and can at the very least appreciate what Quantum of Solace was trying to do, I think this film is at it’s best in the dialogue and in the finale. Because in those respects, Skyfall feels like a natural carry on. I like M’s tough love, seeing Bond show his social side and not being all business, and enjoy how gritty the finale is. Truth is I’d rather watch Bond ambush 10 dudes in a house than ride a tsunami on a surfboard to escape a giant space laser. And for that reason I do think Skyfall is one of Craig’s best, even if it’s implications for the direction of Craig’s Bond were a bit odd to me.

Overall I would recommend Skyfall. It’s certainly one of the better Bond films in Craig’s lineup, and is the third film in a row to have a decent song and intro sequence I think. I may have my issues with it, but there’s certainly more good than bad, and it’s still a good action flick.

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