Skyfall has met with almost universal acclaim, which means it falls on me to be the bearer of bad news. Skyfall is a good Bond movie. But not a great one.
While Casino Royale brought about something new and refreshing and Quantum of Solace doubled down seeking to establish it’s own path. Skyfall is little more than a retreat.
Skyfall has been called a classic Bond film. This is a phrase that has always annoyed me when addressing new media of any kind. Surely something cannot be instantly classic? However I understand the confusion.
Skyfall does not hesitate to trot out the same tired old tropes that lead to James Bond being a toxic property for a long time. On the 50th anniversary of the Bond Franchise it may seem fitting but the in jokes and nods to former films just do not fit. They feel forced and out of place.
This really is a backwards march!
We have the puns, we have the relationship with Moneypenny: which worked in the Connery era but now seems dated. More importantly we have the exhausting logical inconsistencies and plot contrivances that are reminiscent of the worst of Bond.
At one point a highly intelligent spymaster gives away position by using a torch in the pitch black darkness.
That last one really made made me want to scream.
It’s the type of thing that I know would never, ever, ever, happen. It’s the type of thing that forces me back from the screen and reminds me that this is fiction. It’s the type of thing that makes me wonder how many sleepless hours the writer worked before he came up with that particular gem that would allow the plot to continue.
Speaking of plot. The plot is actually very good. But the execution is at times poor. Bond is an action film. Typically things get bigger and badder. So why does it feel like Skyfall reaches it’s highpoint halfway through?
The ending is well executed. But at times it feels like an extended episode of Spooks, and it isn’t the location. The location chosen is as beautiful and rousing as any exotic locale it’s merely the scale. It feels top heavy.
Add to this a bloated cast, a protracted court scene which again stinks of contrivance, and one truly unnecessary character introduced in the last twenty minutes and there are simply too many flaws.
Quantum of Solace had it’s detractors. It’s actually my favourite Bond film. Some people say it didn’t have the humour found in other Bond movies. I would disagree, I argue it had a darker more thoughtful sense of humour.
A humour that shied away from puns and knowingly mined the old tropes in a refreshing manner.
Skyfall feels like a fifty year old reverting to childish behaviour when surrounded by old school friends: understandable but a little sad.
It’s not all bad news Craig is once again excellent, though I get a sense he didn’t relish the humour. Dench is also a class act as M. Her relationship with Bond is explored deeply in this film, though there is never that Catharsis one would expect.
Bardem is stunning as the best villain of recent years, the one criticism I would level in this area is that he did not get enough scenes with Bond, but really he is fantastic.
I would recommend seeing Skyfall but hopefuly with expectations suitably lowered, you will enjoy it more than I did.