Skyfall: prepare to be shaken and stirred by 'best ever' Bond
Bond is back with a careful balance of nostalgia and reinvention – and, in Bardem, the scariest ever villain
FOLLOWING a night on the red carpet for the stars of Skyfall, critics are calling the latest James Bond film one of the "best ever", praising the blend of familiarity and freshness achieved by director Sam Mendes.
"Skyfall is pretty much all you could want from a 21st Century Bond," says Empire magazine. "Cool but not camp, respectful of tradition but up to the moment, serious in its thrills and relatively complex in its characters but with the sense of fun that hasn't always been evident lately."
The Daily Telegraph's Robbie Collin 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
The Hollywood Reporter says this "beautifully made film" will certainly be embraced as "one of the best Bonds by loyal fans worldwide".
But The Observer's Xan Brooks gives Skyfall just three out of four stars, saying it "allows sentimentality to cloud its judgment" and, in doing so, risks exploding the Bond myth by over-humanising him.
Nevertheless, Brooks 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.
Bardem has proved a hit with most critics and is being hailed as the “scariest” Bond villain ever.
"Bardem not only injects vital Bond campery as a peculiarly coiffured super-duper-villain who channels Julians Assange and Clary inside Hannibal Lector, he's the perfect foil to Craig," writes Larushka Ivan-Zadeh in the Metro.
Ivan-Zadeh also praises the "popcorn-spraying opening set piece" and the "daringly choreographed" motorcycle chase over an exotic bazaar that revs into a fight-on-a-speeding-train.
"Neither a pointless reinvention nor an over-cosy nostalgia trip," she says, "this perfectly balanced classic ensures Bond will return – it'll be a Mission: Impossible to try to top it."