The hype surrounding Skyfall is monumental to say the least. Some people are even saying that it’s the best Bond ever. Whether it’s because it’s better than Quantum of Solace or because it’s the 50th anniversary of the Bond film franchise, we’ll have to decide for ourselves. What’s important to know is that the hype isn’t justified. While it’s a good Bond film, compared to Casino Royale (which remains the standard for future Bond films), it doesn’t hold up.
The movie starts with a bang, with Bond (Daniel Craig) and another agent later revealed to be Miss Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) chasing after a criminal who has stolen a hard drive containing the identities of an incredible amount of secret agents. Due to a botched shot, Bond is perceived dead but pops up in time to be sent on a mission when MI6 is attacked by a cyber-terrorist. Things get even crazier from here.
Let’s get started on what works. Daniel Craig remains possibly the best Bond ever, even going as far as saying he’s better than Sean Connery. He and Harris share good chemistry in their scenes together. Q (Ben Whishaw), who’s a young, tech-savvy genius in this Bond, is a shot in the arm. The biggest shock is how much M (Judi Dench) is crucial to the plot, and Dench sinks her teeth into the role, becoming much more effective when she’s given more screen time.
But two main problems plague the film. Maybe it’s too much to expect another Casino Royale. Then again, that movie was as perfect as Bond will ever get, so anything less would be a disappointment. The other problem is the villain, Silva. Javier Bardem is a strong actor, despite his blond hairdo and slightly indecipherable English at times. But his character registers uncomfortably close to reality. Of course, post-9/11, terrorism is always going to walk a thin, dangerous line. But considering his use of YouTube and his drive for justice and information, Silva can be seen from the filmmakers’ view on Julian Assange, aka Wikileaks (Roger Ebert also alluded to this comparison). This is an opinion that the film can’t even begin to support, and one that’s entirely unnecessary in the context of Bond.
Despite these setbacks, Daniel Craig alone is almost enough to make Bond worth watching, and he’s terrific in this one. If they can come up with a movie that’s as strong as he is (they’ve already made one), Bond will become unstoppable for another 50 years.