(Action, PG-13, 143 minutes)
It’s only fitting that “Skyfall,” the 23rd installment in the James Bond series, contains the essence of what makes this film franchise so successful. No matter how shiny and new the gadgets are, this film maintains Bond’s classic elements of masculinity, sexuality and action.
It’s been 50 years since the first Bond film, 1962’s “Dr. No” with Sean Connery. Daniel Craig has filled these shoes, first in 2006’s “Casino Royale,” then 2008’s “Quantum Solace.”
“Skyfall” wastes no time with action and intrigue. Adele’s husky and sensual voice sets the tone during the opening credits. Judi Dench reprises her role as the leader, M.
Bond and M have a tense relationship. He respects her, and vice versa, but some issues of resentment and anger can’t be suppressed. But other things take priority.
This time, MI6 is the target of a cyber terrorist. However, this mastermind has his real sights set on M. Although she maintains her fearlessness in her duties as leader, fear still creeps in, slowly and surely. It is this factor that puts Bond in the forefront of tracking this villain, taking him from Turkey to London to Shanghai.
There is a host of characters that are essential to Bond’s completion of the mission: agent Eve (Naomie Harris), Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes), Severine (Berenice Marlohe) and Q (Ben Whishaw). However, one person stands out in particular, and that is Silva (Javier Bardem).
The Oscar winner’s portrayal of this character is unforgettable. He’s a complex person — extremely effeminate to the point of laughter while being maniacal to the point of nervousness. Craig is the star, but Bardem is a scene-stealer.
The ensemble cast blends well, and the movie flows with a mixture of action, suspense and heart. Craig and Dench have good chemistry on film, which is crucial as the relationship between their characters is crucial to the plot.
The film carries a theme of old versus new — in age, tactics and weapons. Some power struggles exist between characters and among establishments. However, Bond is consistent. “Skyfall” has everything fans seek in a Bond film. Whatever your expectations are, this film will top them.
Craig as Bond is the epitome of masculinity. His brawn is enviable, and his swagger is irresistible.
However, “Skyfall” exposed a sensitive side of the character. A bit of his past is revealed, causing him to be more vulnerable.
However, he’s still Bond. James Bond. And he won’t let you forget it. And with the next inevitable installment — or two — it will be hard not to. I don’t know how long Craig will be tied to the franchise, but “Skyfall” has me hoping he’s in it for the long haul.