Higher and more realistic stakes than previous installments. The action scenes are top notch. Javier Bardem's villain is one of, if not the, best villain in a Bond film. Acting is great all round. And for any of those who didn't like Casino Royale because the lack of gadgets, Skyfall starts adding in some gear that adds flair, but keeps them grounded in reality.
When James Bond goes into hiding after a mission goes wrong, MI6 is attacked by an unknown terrorist. The leader of MI6, M, is determined to find the person responsible, but she knows she needs Bond's help. Armed with skills and intelligence, Bond must find the villain before it is too late.
The suspense in the movie helps to make it more exciting for the audience. It makes the audience ask, "What is going to happen next?", and keep watching. For example, the beginning of the movie begins with James Bond and Moneypenny chasing a bad guy. Bond and the bad guy end up fighting each other on top of a train and Moneypenny has to shoot the bad guy in order to save Bond, but she does not have a clear shot. In this scene, the suspense reaches its peak when M, the head of MI6, demands Moneypenny to take the shot. As a result, Moneypenny fires but the bullet hits Bond by mistake. Another example is when Bond fights a bad guy in a skyscraper in Shanghai. Bond pushes the bad guy out of a window, catches him in the nick of time, and demands to know who he works for. In this scene, the suspense reaches its peak when Bond loses his grip and the bad guy falls to his death. Lastly, another example is how the plot reveals Bond's past. When Bond and M are in Scotland, M asks Bond if this was where he grew up. After Bond says yes, M says that "orphans always make the best recruits". The audience can infer that Bond's parents died, but the movie does not tell the audience the cause of death. This scene adds to the mystery of Bond's past.
The action in the movie helps to make it stand out among the other Bond movies. Also, the elaborate action scenes that the Bond movies are known for puts the audience at the edge of their seats. For example, Bond uses a crane to jump into a train car and fixes his sleeve cuff. These out-of-the-box actions help Bond create an identity for himself as a risk taking secret agent with charisma. Also, the action in this scene helps the movie stand out among the other Bond movies. Another example is when Bond captures Silva on a remote island. Bond defeats Silva's henchmen, but Silva does not think that Bond can arrest him on his own. Meanwhile, Bond used a radio to call in helicopters in order to bring Silva and himself back to London. This is a good example because Bond outsmarts his enemy in a dramatic way.
The characters in the movie help to engage the audience by cheering on the good guys and loathing the bad guys. In addition, each actor and actress play their respective role expertly from beginning to end. For example, the villain, Silva, does not present himself as a stereotypical movie bad guy. On the outside, Silva likes to manipulate people in order to get what he wants with his arrogance and sense of entitlement. However, on the inside, Silva is a cold, calculating maniac who seeks nothing but revenge. Another example is James Bond. After what happened to Bond in the beginning of the movie, Bond went into hiding in order to recover from his injury. However, he chooses to use alcohol to forget about the mission and he feels betrayed by M. After seeing news that the MI6 headquarters was attacked, Bond decides to pick himself up and travel back to London. Bond goes back to London because he knows MI6 needs his help and he wants to exact revenge on whoever attacked the agency. Another example is M, the head of MI6, because she is trying to do the best that she can for the agency and for her country. When she meets with Mallory, a chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, M tells him that she will retire when they find who was responsible for the attack and convict the terrorist. M stands tall because she takes pride in her work and wants the best for her country.
The dialogue in the movie serves to set the tone for a scene or have the audience believe that something will happen. Also, the dialogue reveals more about a character's personality. For example, Bond is chasing Silva in the subway tunnel. Silva says, "Well, you caught me, now, here's your prize, the latest thing from my local toy store, it's called radio." An explosion ruptures a hole in a wall near Bond and he shouts sarcastically to Silva, "I do hope that wasn't for me!" Then, Silva says coldly, "No. But that is..." and a train car crashes through the wall almost hitting Bond, in the process. This scene with the hero and the villain makes the audience want to see the moment when the villain gets his comeuppance. In addition, Silva uses cruel irony when he mentions the "radio" because Bond used a radio earlier in the movie when Silva was arrested. Another example is when Bond returns to London and M catches him in her home. M is told by Bond, "So this is it. We're both played out", and M replies, "Well, if you believe that, why did you come back?". Bond says, "Good question", and M answers that question by stating, "Because we're under attack. And you know we need you." Bond says rudely, "Well, I'm here". By this scene, the audience can tell that Bond is still walking around with a chip on his shoulder because he was shot, by mistake, on his last assignment. Also, Bond knows that M is right and he should focus on the problem at hand.
While Skyfall has received critical acclaim from critics and fans, one critic, Cameron Williams, gave negative feedback on Daniel Craig's portrayal of Bond by saying, "Craig's Bond is a dull, advertising meat sack. The franchise has always been plagued by product placement but when he's slowly pulling back on a specific brand of beer or randomly putting on designer sunglasses while being held hostage it's clear that Craig's performance as a walking billboard is as good as it gets" (Williams). However, this claim overlooks Craig's performance as Bond because Williams only focuses on the advertising aspect of the character. Williams gives little to no credit on Craig's acting and effort. An example of Craig's performance is the scene at the casino between Bond and Severine. The audience can tell that Bond wants to help Severine, but Severine warns Bond that her employer is an evil man. In this scene, the audience sees that Craig's performance of Bond expresses genuine concern for Severine. Another example of Craig's performance is the scene where Bond is interrogating the assassin in Shanghai. The audience can tell by Bond's actions and choice of words that Bond will do anything in his power to know who the assassin works for. Bond is furious that he loses his grip and causes the assassin to fall to his death because it will make it more difficult for Bond to know where to look next. Another example of Craig's performance is the scene where Bond meets the new Q in an art gallery before going on another assignment to Shanghai. The audience can tell that Bond and Q jokingly throw witty remarks about each other's age before formally introducing themselves. Also, the audience can infer that by this meeting, Bond and Q can trust each other in future assignments.
Cameron Williams delivered another negative claim about Skyfall by stating that, "Instead of forging ahead with something new, the film relies on gags and references to previous Bond films with familiar cars, gadgets and one liners that proves it's only as good as your fondness of the franchise will allow" (Williams). However, this opinion generalizes Skyfall as "just another James Bond movie" because the movie scratches the surface on Bond's past. Also, this movie marks the final time Judi Dench plays as M in future James Bond movies. The audience learns about a new person who takes the role as M and a new person who takes the role as Q, the quartermaster. New characters in Skyfall helped to make a clean slate for the movie and its sequel. Skyfall did not make use of one liners, but the dialogue did use elements of dramatic irony and quick-witted conversations. An example of dramatic irony is when Silva is running from Bond in the subway tunnels. Silva mentions "the radio" in the same way like when Bond uses a radio to capture Silva on the island. An example of a quick-witted conversation is the meeting between Bond and Q, the new quartermaster, at the art museum before Bond goes to Shanghai. Bond and Q poke fun about each other before getting to the matter at hand. Another example of a witty conversation is when the doctor asks Bond about word associations during Bond's tests. Even though Bond cooperates, he manages to insult M without hesitation because he is still angry about the failed mission early in the movie. In addition, Bond walks out on the test when the doctor says the word, "Skyfall". The audience can infer that Bond does not like to mention the word, but the audience does not know why.
Skyfall is a must see movie for any fan of James Bond movies, young and old. In addition, it is a superb action movie for anyone who likes the action genre or is simply a casual moviegoer.