Is Sam Mendes’ Skyfall the best James Bond ever?

Written by daston498

Generally speaking, Bond villains are idiots. Spectacular idiots.

Generally speaking, Bond villains are idiots. Spectacular idiots. Often when gifted with the chance to shoot Bond right in his smug face, they’ll simply take a moment to divulge a powerpoint presentation of their latest plan, more or less informing Bond how to stop them in the most efficient way possible, and giving sufficient breaks for him to do the dirty with some exotic lovely.

Rejoice then, for Javier Bardem. A villain equal parts juicy, creepy and intelligent psychopathy, out for revenge against M for wrongs he experienced in the past. It’s a dark-hearted, camp performance, an innuendo driven conversation between him and Bond a highlight of the entire film. His character, and indeed the film, acknowledges and explores the fairly current notion of cyber terrorism in today’s society, just as The Dark Knight examined the Wests sense of vulnerability after 9/11. 

I’m not a massive fan of Bond pre Daniel Craig, except for Timothy Dalton.  His worn, exhausted Bond struggling for purpose appealed to me far more than Brosnan or Moore’s arched eyebrows and contrived punchlines.  Craig’s Bond owes much to Daltons incarnation, and at present it’s not a stretch to confirm Craig as the best Bond ever.  He seems Bond incarnate, like there never was a previous version to even compete with him, he grounds the film, gives it it’s rugged heart.  The film appropriately acknowledges his age, and like never before it seems Bond is vulnerable physically and mentally to the job environment he used to thrive in.  The notion of new overtaking old is engrained throughout the film, seen through Bond’s relationship with the new Q, played magnificently by Ben Whishaw, and this theme also allows the film to hark back to Bonds past for some essential backstory.

The women of Skyfall also turn out stronger than many before them, although admittedly that is hardly a difficult feat to achieve.  There’s a sense of warmth to Bond’s encounters to Naomie Harris’ Eve and she herself appears strong, driven, and smart, these character traits running parallel to M, who comes to the forefront like never before. Judi Dench relishes her unusually prolonged screen time, and delivers on all fronts.

Coming off Quantum of Solace, Bond’s attempt at Bourne, which had about as much humour as sandpaper flavoured ice cream, Skyfall returns the Bond franchise to its staggering best. Mendes handles the action sequences exquisitely; cinematographer Roger Deakins captures them with equal splendour.  At times Bond is a near poetic blend of homage and modernity, high-octane entertainment, yet complex in its characters. 

It’s a wonderful present for Bond’s fiftieth cinematic year, a stirring, effective new addition for both old and new audience, and I think we can safely say, the best Bond ever.