Spy thriller meets comic-book caper in new Bond film Skyfall
Slinky women, loathsome villains and beautiful action sequences make it one of the best ever 007 films
What you need to know
Agent 007 returns to cinema screens today in Skyfall, the 23rd the James Bond spy film series, based on the books of Ian Fleming. It is directed by the Oscar-winning British film-maker and former theatre director, Sam Mendes.
The story begins as a mission in Istanbul ends in disaster, leaving Bond missing, presumed dead. When the identities of undercover M16 agents are leaked online, Bond returns to help M (Judi Dench) save her reputation and track down cyber-villain Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem).
Daniel Craig returns in his third Bond role. ‘Bond girls’ include Naomie Harris (Pirates of the Caribbean) and French actress Bérénice Marlohe.
What the critics like
This is “a great British bulldog of a movie”, says Kate Muir in The Times. Mendes “deftly balances fanboy worship of 007 tradition with sophisticated film-making, and (apart from early Connery), nobody does it better than Daniel Craig”. Skyfall will go down as “one of 007’s best”.
Skyfall is pretty much all you could want from a 21st Century Bond, says Kim Newman in Empire. It’s cool but not camp, has serious thrills, slinky women and loathsome villains. “One thing’s certain: James Bond will return.”
It’s often dazzling and always audacious, says Robbie Collin in The Daily Telegraph. Bond films always borrow from the film craze du jour, so Mendes’s film “is less hard-boiled spy saga than blistering comic-book escapade”. The wildly ambitious action sequences are “the most beautiful in Bond’s 50-year career”. It’s bound to be “a stratospheric hit”.
What they don’t like
It falls prey to sentimentality, says Xan Brooks in The Guardian. Bond works best as a blank canvas for male fantasy. But when Mendes adds some touchy-feely back-story about 007’s relationship with M the resulting soft-headedness and nostalgia “risks blowing James Bond's cover for good”.