‘Skyfall’ Soars To The Top

3 1/2 stars

“Skyfall?” More like fell from the sky.

The latest installment of the decade-spanning James Bond films, “Skyfall,” is an explosive addition to a franchise in desperate need of a divine intervention after falling off its newly rebooted track once “Quantum of Solace” bored audiences into their seats.

While “Skyfall” packs the usual Bond punches: fancy cars, nifty gadgets and oddly named female leads; the film’s strongest aspect is undoubtedly its all-star casting between the trio of Daniel Craig, Judi Dench and Javier Bardem.

Craig carries the film from the moment “Skyfall” starts with its high-speed chase through the rooftops of Istanbul, using his action-first style of portraying Bond with a healthy mix of Pierce Brosnan’s classic suave. With “Skyfall,” it is evident that Craig has denied his initial critics and  mastered the role of M16’s top agent. His portrayal of Bond  created a perfect cocktail — shaken, not stirred, of course.

“Skyfall,” which is the highest grossing Bond film in the franchise, took years to complete after MGM Studios went through financial trouble, causing a long period of Bond-less years in between the lackluster “Quantum of Solace” and the eagerly awaited new installment. Despite this, I think all Bond fans will agree it was worth the wait.

Dench had one of her most memorable performances as “M,” giving the character some much needed depth and development. In fact, Dench and her character’s past was a main focal point of the movie — which was an added breath of fresh air.

While Bardem’s character, Silva, may not have been as menacing and diabolical as trailers suggested, the actor’s unquestionable talent permeates the film. Although Silva may not be as sinister as Alec Trevelyan, or as cunning as Le Chiffre, he brings an uncomfortable saunter throughout the film that left me intrigued as to the character’s intentions, motives and overall plan.

What separates “Skyfall” from other Bond films is its cognizance of the time period it is released in, using the all-too-common threat of cyberterrorism as the main avenue of destruction for Silva — making it both topical and serving as a forewarning of what the darker side of our internet-dependent culture can have.

On a side note, no review of “Skyfall” would be complete without praise for both Adele’s hauntingly beautiful opening theme, as well as the art direction involved in creating the film’s titles. The silhouetted figures moving across the screen to Adele’s voice felt like a classic Bond song with a definitive modern twist.

Overall, “Skyfall” will rank high in the pantheon of Bond films and be remembered as a strong comeback attempt that Director Sam Mendes eloquently crafted.