Before I begin with my review of ‘Skyfall’ I have to say that I really enjoyed the two previous Daniel Craig Bond movies. I found that after decades of more and more campy and ridiculous plots and gadgets and silly villains Bond had become very stale and boring to watch. However, when ‘Casino Royale’ was released it, for me anyway, completely wiped the slate clean off all that had come before it, giving us a clever, sleek, real-world depiction of James Bond.
‘Casino Royale’ made Bond great again, it showed him as a real man, in real world situations. Gone were the exploding pens and laser watches and car chases over glaciers that were being melted by satellite weapons, instead we had the real world and someone who whilst clearly above average, some one still very much a human being. He was even able to get hurt fighting people taking more beatings then I can ever remember Bond having.
Followed up by ‘Quantum of Solace’, a first real sequel to a Bond film, the new films looked to be getting better and better. They were even working on establishing this new global terrorist threat in the form of Quantum, a group that was everywhere and could be anyone. I loved this, the sense of scale and mystery was great, and held a lot of parallels to S.P.E.C.T.R.E. in the original Bond films.
Unfortunately this plot thread does not continue on in ‘Skyfall’ at all. The film doesn’t even mention Quantum in passing, almost as if the first two films never happened. Instead ‘Skyfall’ focuses its story on a former British agent who has a personal vendetta against M. Rather than tackling a global threat or massive conspiracy Bond instead becomes more of a bodyguard than a secret agent.
Whilst the plot itself isn’t bad it feels like more of a generic action movie rather than what we’ve come to expect from Bond, especially from Daniel Craig’s time in the roll. Unfortunately this change in direction, by completely dropping the Quantum plot, and focusing more on a small personal threat rather than global danger takes away from what could have been a much better film, it just feels out of place.
The action sequences in the film are adequate, but once again not as entertaining as Craig’s previous outings in the roll, and seem to be focused more on creating pretty visuals than enthralling fights.
One of the best things about the movie though is the pleasant surprise of seeing the whole of the second half set in England. It’s great to see Bond fighting the villain in his home country, rather than defending it from afar and the final set piece at Skyfall Manor in Scotland is beautifully shot and well executed.
The film also has Bond teaming up with the best ‘Bond Girl’ yet, Judi Dench’s M. Teaming up Bond and M makes for some great moments, both for beautiful character moments that explore the mother/son relationship they have and some comedic moments.
Unfortunately this relationship comes to a close in this film as *SPOILER ALERT* M is killed. M is then replaced by a new M, complete with his secretary Moneypenny, bringing the series back round in tone to the original films. This change in the status quo wipes away everything we have seen in ‘Casino Royale’ and ‘Quantum of Solace’ and instead gives us a stand alone story that just seems to be used to set up for more films that will be just like the older Bond films, something I personally am not looking forward to.
‘Skyfall’ could have been a great film, something that would celebrate the 50 years of Bond, but instead feels like a slap in the face because everything I had become invested in since Daniel Craig took over has been cast aside and the end of ‘Skyfall’ feels like a completely different film from the one we deserved. A very poor effort from MGM, one that casts aside continuity to deliver something outdated and boring. I was excited about the new Bond films, but now it’s going to be very hard to convince me to watch whatever one follows on from ‘Skyfall’.
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