It doesn’t lack explosions, but Skyfall is not a classic action movie. You can’t sit there, slurping your drink, waiting for people to fight and shoot at each other. Growing with the modern age, James Bond is a heavily developed character relying heavier on his own personality and skills rather than gadgets. Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Skyfall is very much a trilogy, with the audience following through the rise and fall of Daniel Craig’s James Bond.
I grew up with James Bond. Where most kids probably watched something like The Goonies or Sandlot (which I really only saw when I was a Freshman in high school), I watched James Bond movies with my grandma. I come from a family of Bond lovers, and of course, it makes sense. The older movies were easy to comprehend for a family of Chinese immigrants, they were action movies. They were good movies, but most definitely action movies. I loved them regardless, but Skyfall is obviously on a new level. Skyfall kept me on the edge of my seat figuratively. My mind was always fishing for answers and clues to the film. The dialogue was the star, James was the star. The action just came with the job. Sam Mendes creates a very analytical film, and allows the audience to delve deeper into the personality and character of James Bond. This movie was a great conclusion to the loss of identity that was seen in Bond’s Quantum of Solace and through out most of Skyfall, his identity is reaffirmed. Bond dies and is reborn, he has to become the spy that we saw in Casino Royale in a process that is tangible to us.
Craig creates a fractured Bond who is not at his physical or mental perfection, he gets out of breath, he has weaknesses, he gets nervous, hell, he’s even addicted to alcohol and drugs. It is only through the process of the film that he grows and matures to the agent he needs to be. Even the appearance of Daniel Craig has been noticeably aged. He is grizzled and wounded. At an early point in the movie I would have even said he should hang up his spying ways and move aside for a younger man, but he surprised me yet again. This isn’t a brainless killing machine, he’s in espionage for a reason.
The film deals with many motifs of old versus new and teases a well versed audience with Bond universe tidbits. However in the fashion of a true espionage film, the end all is the mental puzzle that your mind has to put together as the film unravels. From it’s beautifully imagined and filmed credits to the suave classic ending, it’s every piece of James Bond handed to you on a plate. Mendes successfully creates a true bond (no pun intended) between the audience and his protagonist. It’s no longer just another Bond. We know him, we know his past, his present, and we are with him as he makes his future.