“Skyfall” is a different kind of Bond movie, one that works just fine on its own terms, but a steady diet of this might kill the franchise. One “Skyfall” is enough.
-Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

The new 007 adventure reaches for the sky but falls short. This does not prevent Skyfall from being a good Bond film, but it does flatten the film’s higher aspiration – which is to be more than just a good Bond film.
-Steve Biodrowski, Cinefantastique

Skyfall is a film about James Bond going back to his roots, of sorts. The success of which is open to interpretation. Avoiding some sort of wide-scale crisis for Bond to solve, this film is very self contained, attempting to paint a more intimate portrait of 007 and just what makes him tick. The result is a moodier and slightly darker version of Bond as a character, which is interesting to a point but doesn’t do the screenplay many favors.

James Bond

Youth is not a guarantee of innovation.

Bond: 007 reporting for duty.
M: Where the hell have you been?
Bond: Enjoying death.

Bond: Everyone needs a hobby…
Silva: So what’s yours?
Bond: Resurrection.

Javier Bardem, continuing his run of playing crazy evil villains with bad haircuts, plays Raoul Silva, a disgruntled former member of MI6 who has it out for agency head, M. The story is triggered when Silva steals a hard drive full of agents names and aliases (think the noclist from the first Mission: Impossible film) to use as bait. Bond is tasked with finding the hard drive and saving the day, as he usually is.

In terms of the Bond Villain, Bardem should receive some Oscar consideration for his role as Silva. It was that good. He doesn’t show up until maybe a third of way through the film, which is effective for the slow burn type of build up to his reveal in a fantastic one-on-one scene with Bond. Parts of the character’s back story are absolutely chilling and Bardem makes the most of it.

This is one creepy bad guy
Raoul Silva

She sent you after me, knowing you’re not ready, knowing you would likely die. Mommy was very bad.

Life clung to me like a disease.

We are the two rats left. We can either eat each other…or eat everyone else.

This all sounds like a great setup for a typical action flick, but instead Skyfall almost turns into a James Bond character study:

  • Is he getting too old to be a spy?
  • Does he still have what it takes?
  • What was his childhood like?
  • What happened to his parents?
  • How does he really feel about M?
  • Just what is Skyfall and why is it the title of this movie?

Interesting, sure, but is that what we want in our escapist action films? Very light on action until a semi-ridiculous final set piece over does it a bit, Skyfall could have used a bit more fun throughout. It also loses points for the awkward way it name drops a few classic characters in the final moments to set up future installments.

Although leagues more entertaining/satisfying than any of the Pierce Brosnan series of Bond films, Skyfall doesn’t quite live up to the hype. It aims for a darker and more introspective version of Bond that doesn’t completely work. But there is some fun to be had (a fantastic villain, great secondary characters, gorgeously shot photography) and it’s definitely worth checking out.

FilmFire review:
3.25/5 forms