Before we get into further discussion of Skyfall, I’d like to reiterate the fact that the last act is “Elderly Brits Will Have Your Stupid Faces And There’s Nothing You Can Do About It” and that is great. That is just the best. People always treat Helen Mirren like she’s the most bad-ass elderly Englishwoman ever produced, but I’d still rather run into her in a dark alley than Judy Dench.
Helen Mirren will murder you, yes. But Judy Dench will murder you as though it was just a damn inconvenience.
Skyfall’s plot and themes are about looking back on your past and seeing how you’ll be judged, and if you’re past your prime, and what is it that’s really motivating you these days. And that’s a solid place to set a Bond film – especially a Bond film released during the character’s 50th anniversary.
It’s actually pretty impressive when a Bond movie is About Something. Casino Royale’s narrative and thematic throughline is “What Makes James Bond?” and remains the best of the Craig films. Quantum of Solace is about nothing very much, until it’s not even a Bond movie, but The Revenge Of This Model Who Can’t Act Very Good, Featuring James Bond as “The Help”.*
So Skyfall, in aiming to be a Bond movie that’s about something, pretty much ignores that Quantum of Solace exists (so if you were hoping this would continue the story of the vaguely SPECTRE-esque Quantum Organization, you’re out of luck).
But it also kind of assumes that you don’t remember any details of Casino Royale, and also kinda-sorta pre-supposes that ALL the Bond movies exist in one vaguely-defined continuity, which brings me to The Astin Martin. (more…)