First reviews hail Skyfall as the best Bond in years

Director Sam Mendes' 'audacious' and 'witty' addition to franchise goes down well

LAST UPDATED AT 14:20 ON Sun 14 Oct 2012

BOND is back, to a rapturous reception. The first reviews of the 23rd film in the franchise dreamt up by Ian Fleming in 1953 are mostly positive, with the movie hailed as daring, modern and a "reinvention".

Skyfall is currently enjoying a remarkable 100 per cent positive score for critical reception on US-based aggregator site Rottentomatoes.com, based on 11 reviews. That may change, but the early reaction could hardly be better.

Writing in The Sunday Times, arts editor Richard Brooks praises a film which "shakes and stirs its audience throughout its 140 minutes". Daniel Craig's third performance as the British agent is his best yet, says Brooks.

The film's "witty" script mixes "sharp exchanges with touching moments" and thus restores Bond to the "conflicted" personality that Fleming always intended him to be, writes Brooks.

The Sunday Mirror gives Skyfall five out of five stars, with reviewer David Edwards noting that director Sam Mendes "hasn't been afraid to play with the formula".

The franchise has been brought up to date, says Edwards, with themes including cyber terrorism. And for the first time, we're given some of Bond's back-story, learning that he was raised in Scotland, like his creator.

But The Observer's Xan Brooks is not impressed with this glimpse into the hard-man's soft side. Giving Skyfall just three out of four stars, he says it "allows sentimentality to cloud its judgement" and, in doing so, risks exploding the Bond myth by over-humanising him.

But Brooks still lauds a film whose "smart, sure-footed antics" set up a "devastating" finale with a twist. And he particularly enjoys Javier Bardem's camp super-villain who excels in a homo-erotic interrogation scene with Daniel Craig.

Robbie Collin, for The Sunday Telegraph, asks if this "frequently dazzling, utterly audacious" new entry in the franchise is really a Bond film at all. He sees it as a "blistering comic book escapade" which owes more to Christopher Nolan's batman reboot, The Dark Knight, than it does to its Bond antecedents.

Collin says the film will be a "stratospheric hit" with its "beautiful" action sequences shot by the Coen brothers' favourite cinematographer, Roger Deakins, the most impressive in the franchise's 50-year history. · 

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