Daniel Craig as James Bond. [Source]
Since the 1960's, we all know James Bond to be this suave secret agent with a license to kill. Always perfectly dressed, he's got all the coolest cars and gadgets, and always gets to bed the most gorgeous of women with nary an effort. Bond had single-handedly made being a spy aspirational and such a cool occupation.
But the world has changed a great lot since then, and director Sam Mendes has pretty much put this premise front and center, even questioning MI6's relevance in today's world where no one even knows who the enemy is anymore. With cyberterrorism and all, how can Bond keep up? I have to stop myself here to preclude myself from unwittingly giving away spoilers. Suffice it to say that the film puts espionage, especially where secret agents are fielded all around the globe, on the table for examination. With a plot like this, coupled with less cool and a lot less cheese, I sometimes forget that I'm watching a Bond film.
Despite its fantastic opening action sequence, the film instantly takes a detour towards a more personal route, with that sense of foreboding lingering throughout the rest of the movie. And even if Daniel Craig has transformed 007 into a more brute and able-bodied (and less dashing, might I add) force to be reckoned with since Casino Royale, he is cast in a different light here in Skyfall. Here we are reminded that Bond is not superhuman at all, that age and injuries do take their toll on him. He remains cold, though, which is probably why I hardly felt anything in the film's supposed emotionally-charged, stripped-down climax. I saw the intention but I just wasn't feeling it.
No offense to transsexuals out there but this Bond girl makes me think of one. [Source]
As for the Bond girls, alas, they hardly played to any significance at all! Don't get me wrong, Berenice Marlohe is stunning but I don't know if it's just her makeup or what that she looks like a transsexual to me (no offense). But you know what, the real Bond girl here in Skyfall is M (Judi Dench), who is pushed into the forefront of the story and therefore enjoys a lot of screen time. And in spite of her age, she makes one feisty Bond girl.
As for the villain, did casting an Oscar winner pay off? Well, of course! Javier Bardem as Silva was just brilliant. He's funny, he's menacing, he's scary. He's a mixed bag. Is he gay? We're never sure. My only complaint is that he doesn't have that much screen time. In fact, we don't even get to see him until about halfway through the film. But I do understand that his minimal appearances only add to the allure of his character, and which perfectly serves the story right. Nevertheless, Bardem definitely makes each shot count. He completely steals every scene he's in. He's that good.
Silva (Javier Bardem) must be having a really bad hair day. [Source]
In hindsight, even if I find the film's climax wanting in emotion and impact -- a tad anticlimactic even -- Skyfall still soars in many other respects, making it still worth watching. And even when you think that it doesn't feel like a Bond film, like I did, you can never discount the fact that on its own, this is really one good movie.
And oh, The Dark Lord is back!