“Skyfall” – Review by MovieManMenzel

Bond is back and better than ever!

Skyfall is the 23rd official installment in the James Bond movie franchise and one of the most highly anticipated films in the franchise.  Skyfall was supposed to begin initial filming back in 2010, but due to financial issues of MGM this film was placed on the backburner. Skyfall is the third outing for Daniel Craig as James Bond and it has been said that Craig’s take on Bond is darker and more realistic than the previous actors that have portrayed the iconic character made famous by Ian Fleming. With that being said, let’s jump right into my review of Skyfall.

This time around, everyone’s favorite secret agent is sent to Shanghai by M (Judi Dench) after the MI-6 headquarters is attacked.  As he makes his ways through the seedy underbelly of Shanghai, he meets up with Sévérine (Bérénice Lim Marlohe) at a casino. It is Sévérine, who takes Bond to meet up with the film’s villain Silvia played perfectly by Javier Bardem. Bond soon learns that Silvia is out to seek revenge on not only M, but the entire MI-6 organization. This is where the fun ensues as Bond must take on his biggest mission yet to keep M safe while protecting the entire organization from this previous agent gone mad.

James Bond has always been a franchise that I have followed closely but very seldomly loved. Sure you have the Sean Connery classics that defined a generation, but after that you had several other people follow in his footsteps and while some of them were decent films, none of these films seemed to capture the magic that Sean Connery brought to the role; that is until Daniel Craig stepped in to fill these shoes. Craig’s first attempt at Bond was Casino Royale which brought a darker and edgier side to Bond and one that we have never seen before. It was praised by most, but some had issues with the character becoming too dark.

The second outing for Craig was Quantum of Solace, which let’s be honest was a huge let down for almost everyone who saw it, even those who absolutely adored Craig as Bond. The release of Skyfall had a lot riding on it because most people were afraid it could be more like Solace rather than Royale, but luckily for everyone it’s much more like Royale and could be quite possibly the best Bond film to date.

Skyfall does something that I never thought I would see from a Bond film. It has layers, it has depth, and it has a pretty engaging story. The film which was written Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan creates not only tells a compelling story for Bond and the beloved characters, but also gives a lot of insight into the characters. The script for Skyfall mixes humor, story, action, and drama, which makes it one of the richest Bond films to date in terms of quality and context.

But a great script isn’t all that Skyfall has to offer, it also features some top notch performances and amazing direction from Sam Mendes; the director of one of my favorite films of all time, American Beauty. Mendes along with the film’s cinematographer Roger Deakins captures the beauty of a Bond film. When Bond goes to Shanghai, it is almost stunning to see as they capture the city so perfectly. The film features so many scenes where your eyes as fixated on the screen and not by the action, but rather just the beauty of the shot. There is one particular scene in which Bond is on a boat traveling through the water with the Japanese dragon heads floating; this scene in particular is just simply stunning.

Mendes has been compared to Nolan in terms of his direction of Skyfall as there are several moments where it feels as if you are watching The Dark Knight in terms of both direction and characters. Javier Bardem’s portrait of Silva is constantly being compared to Nolan’s Joker by several people on the net and I will concur that you can see clearly see how that character might have helped shape Silva in the film. The character has a similar standpoint from which Joker seemed to want to take down Gotham. He has a real backstory and not one that seems forced or unbelievable. Bardem is great as the villain because he adds realism to a typically silly and over the top type character especially in Bond films. The character feels real and authentic with a real reason to seek revenge and I applaud the screenwriters, Mendes, and also Bardem for giving a villain some gusto.

I can’t conclude this review without discussing Bond himself. Daniel Craig has grown into this character and Skyfall as a whole really allows for Craig to shine as Bond. Craig brings some dark sarcastic moments to the film and let me just say that he makes kicking ass look easy. I never thought I could say that someone would replace Sean Connery as the best Bond, but I honestly feel Craig does. Daniel Craig’s portrayal of Bond gives the character layers and depth which makes in return makes it something more than just a ladies man and a spy who cannot die. With so many action films coming out each year, it’s important to make Bond into something special instead of just another pretty boy bad-ass.

When all is said and done, Skyfall is an epic return for James Bond and after many years without a Bond film this marks something that was well worth the wait. In my humble opinion, this is my favorite Bond film because I feel it achieves something new without losing its roots. The film features so many cheesy and over the top moments, but underneath all the explosions, chase scenes, and cool inventions there is a story that really establishes these characters and gives them a level of realism that no Bond film has given these characters before. It’s truly a cinematic treat and even if you aren’t a Bond fan, I still recommend that you give Skyfall a chance because I think it has a little something for everyone.

MovieManMenzel’s final rating for Skyfall is a solid 8 out of 10.

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