After the disappointment of Quantum of Solace, Skyfall represented the ultimate test to see whether Daniel Craig could succeed in creating a Bond to remember.
After watching Sam Mendes’ latest installment of the 007 series, I found myself wondering how he, along with his supporting cast, could have achieved this to much better effect.
Mendes mixes nostalgia with clear signs of progression perfectly. An abundance of Bond’s classic humour comes through, including nods to the cars and gadgets of previous films, while still bringing us plenty of the new. The wonderfully crafted action sequences and impressive cinematography boasted in the trailers did not disappoint on the big screen; taking us through the beautifully lit parts of Shanghai, to carnage within the tunnels of the London Underground. But it was the characters that make this film the success it is.
Both the reinventions of familiar faces and those making their debut are intriguing and refreshing. We are introduced to a bleach blonde Javier Bardem who brings us the most interesting Bond villain to hit the screen in decades.
Bardem’s Raoul Silva simple desire for revenge, and the extent to which he will go to get it, along with some elaborate analogous speeches and a dodgy jawline, make sure that the Spaniard – in contrast to the cartoonish baddies desperate for world domination of previous films – cements himself amongst the Bond villain greats.
Ben Whishaw as a baby-faced Q, carries promise for the future, while a visit to Bond’s family home where he grew up provides us with a believable and humorous Scottish gamekeeper; likely a not-so-subtle nod towards fan-favourite Sean Connery.
With two gorgeous Bond girls in Naomie Harris and Berenice Marlohe, 007 has ample opportunity to flex his flirtatious muscles, and while we perhaps lack the chance to build an intimate relationship with either woman, this will hardly come as a surprise to bond fans.
The stealer of the show is found in one of the movies’ few familiar faces: ‘M’ (played by Judi Dench). Never before have we seen been treated to an insight into her background and the emotions that run through her relationships with agents. Riddled with regret and a determined sense of duty, M is a character we can’t help but sympathise with, despite her mistakes. Her relationship with Bond is probably the most touching that we have seen 007 form with anyone. And the climax of the film leaves us with a reminder that Bond can move as well as excite us, something that has been missing in the last few features.