Above-average Bond film, plot holes notwithstanding.
I enjoyed Casino Royale and was disappointed by Quantum of Solace so the big question was whether Skyfall would halt the downward trend. It did. It was definitely better than Quantum.
Daniel Craig gave another fine performance as Bond. I think there is more emotional depth to his Bond than many of the previous ones (though this is as much to do with the scriptwriters as with the performance). And in Skyfall the scriptwriters have let him more-or-less break the curse of the first two films, in which every woman who was willing to sleep with him died before the end of the film. (Though there does seem to be some debate about whether he and Eve slept together – I had assumed it was a given, but it is true that one didn’t actually see it happen, and other people don’t agree with me.)
Speaking of women, there were officially two ‘Bond girls’ in this film (plus a nameless bimbo early on), but the true female lead is M. Judi Dench gets the chance to give a full, nuanced performance, and (being Judi Dench) does a great job of it.
I enjoyed Ben Whishaw’s Q – I think there is potential for a good ongoing dynamic between him and Bond. Different from Desmond Llewelyn’s, but still engaging. (I was never a fan of John Cleese as ‘R’.) Although the script does make him do at least one monumentally stupid thing for someone supposedly intelligent. Perhaps it is meant to be hubris.
The other actors were also good – Javier Bardem was particularly creepy, and I liked how the M-as-father-figure subtext from the books was reworked and explored.
I found some aspects of the plot quite predictable – in particular, the two big ‘reveals’ of the final scene, I had seen coming from much earlier in the film. Although, from the audience reaction, this was not universal. (And, in any case, the scene was still fun even with foreknowledge.)
However, there was one aspect of the plot I wasn’t convinced by. Spoiler follows I could accept that Silva’s being captured was all part of the Big Plan, and I was willing to not-ask how he overpowered the guards. But I reached a point where I could no longer accept just how many people he had in key places, and the superbly synchronised timing of it all. And especially that he knew Bond would catch up with him at just the point he had set up for the train. End spoiler.
Taken overall, however, I enjoyed the film.
Bond is in the Tube tunnel, with Q giving him directions over the radio.
Q: There should be a service door on your left.
James Bond: Got it. It won’t open.
Q: Of course it will, put your back into it.
James Bond: Why don’t you come down here and put your back into it! No, it’s stuck. Oh good. Train’s coming.
Q: That’s vexing.
(My other favourite line was M looking at the Aston Martin and saying ‘Well, that’s inconspicuous!’)
Technically a pass, although not a very meaningful one.
There are four named female characters: M, Eve, Sévérine and Clair Dowar (I didn’t actually remember her name from the film, but it was in IMDB). M and Eve speak to each other over the radio, not just about Bond; and then later M and Clair have a conversation – or rather, a confrontation – about M’s performance, which, although it does involve her handling of (male) agents, is not exactly ‘about a man’.