“Skyfall,” the latest installment in the James Bond franchise, is earning rave reviews. Directed by Oscar winner Sam Mendes, the film’s impressive cast includes Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem and Albert Finney.
It marks Daniel Craig’s third outing as the iconic MI6 agent 007, and, based on what the critics are saying, the actor gives his best performance yet. Craig’s initial turn as the skillfully suave ladies’ man in “Casino Royale” gave Bond an impressive blend of depth and vulnerability.
In “Skyfall,” Craig continues to bring a sense of humility to the character, but, as the Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy notes, “He owns Bond now, and the role is undoubtedly his for as long as he might want it.”
Peter Debrudge of Variety praises the film for presenting a compelling new approach to the series.
“Wholly unlike the first 20 Bond installments and yet completely of a piece with the franchise's core values, ‘Skyfall’ continues the stripped-down approach introduced in ‘Casino Royale,’ completing Bond's transformation from kiss-kiss-bang-bang action figure to full-fledged character.”
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Debrudge also believes that the film is “on par with Christopher Nolan's ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy as best-case exemplars of what cinematic brands can achieve, resulting in a recipe for nothing short of world domination.”
Xan Brooks of the Guardian finds the film’s opening scene mesmerizing and believes that “Skyfall” draws effective parallels to modern culture: “Ably directed by Sam Mendes, ‘Skyfall’ -- the 23rd official 007 outing -- is at its finest during a bruising, tumultuous opening half, fired by an electrifying precredits chase scene and a script that nods shrewdly to the Wikileaks furor.”
In Metro UK’s review of the film titled “Why ‘Skyfall’ Is The Best James Bond Film Ever,” Ann Lee notes that Bardem makes for a compelling antagonist.
“We already know from ‘No Country For Old Men’ that Javier Bardem knows how to do quiet menace with just a haircut and a smirk. Bardem has created a fantastic Bond villain in Raoul Silva, who gets some of the best lines in the movie.
"He comes across as a campier version of Hannibal Lecter and even manages to make him a tiny bit sympathetic,” Lee continues.
Cinema Blend’s Katey Rich calls the film “beautiful and stirring” and observes that the theme of resurrection, which factors heavily into the film’s plot, applies to the effect "Skyfall" has on the entire series: “Midway through the film, he deadpans that his hobby is ‘resurrection,’ and, though this new Bond was technically introduced six years ago, it really does feel like he has been reborn. With a perfect mix of classic Bond tropes and fresh, modern style, ‘Skyfall’ is vital, thrilling and consistently surprising; it's as good as Bond has ever been and a more-than-convincing argument that James Bond matters more now than ever before.”
While 2006’s “Casino Royale” was a highly lauded effort that drew massive box office numbers, “Quantum of Solace,” the film’s 2008 follow-up, was met with mixed reviews. Though both fared well in theaters, Buzznet points out that “Skyfall” producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli felt the pressure to release a superior quality film to coincide with Bond’s 50th anniversary. Based on the hype surrounding the highly anticipated film, it’s clear they’ve done just that.
“Skyfall” is scheduled to debut on Nov. 9.