Tom's Review of Skyfall
(5 Stars) Skyfall is easily the best modern James Bond movie... it's like The Dark Knight of Bond (actually, that's not too far off as there are a lot of plot and character similarities). Saying it reinvigorates the series isn't fair to Casino Royale, but it bounces back from the inferior Quantum of Solace.
The actions scenes are kinetic and creative. It doesn't suffer from the Bourne-style shakey-cam and extreme close-ups that a lot of action movies suffer from nowadays. I'm glad Sam Mendes knows where to place the camera; I was leery of another director known for dramatic movies taking the reins of a Bond film (like Marc Foster, who directed Quantum of Solace), but Mendes focuses on the characters and lets them pull the weight of the film instead of artificially creating drama through a shakey frame.
A lot of unthinkable and unexpected things happen to James Bond (Daniel Craig) and M (Judi Dench) is given quite a bit of dramatic emphasis. It's Judi Dench's finest performance of the character. Q (Ben Whishaw) returns, thank God, and the villain (Javier Bardem) is definitely one of the most memorable of the series; the less I tell you about him, the better. I know you can compare bits of the plot to Live Free or Die Hard, The Dark Knight, and earlier Bond movies, but after 22 films, there are going to be some similarities to action cinema. But the ending is unbelievable; I can safely say going into Skyfall that I did not see it coming.
The reason why I say it's the best "modern Bond" film is because it's hard to compare a Daniel Craig movie to a Sean Connery and Roger Moore movie. The Bond films are transcendent; they are the best action movies of their time and Skyfall has advanced years of film technology and innovation on Goldfinger or The Spy Who Loved Me. What's groundbreaking in 1964 isn't going to be the same in 2012. The same goes for action movies, so that's why comparing them is a bit dubious. However, if the story is great, then it will be great forever, no matter what year it was made and Skyfall will be remembered as among the best Bond films ever.