NOTE: This analysis/review of the film Skyfall includes spoilers.
Bond. James Bond.
Daniel Craig returns in the 23rd installment of the British spy series and delivers perhaps the best film in the series yet.
Skyfall, at its heart, is a return to the roots of what made the super spy series so successful.
While it returns to many classic James Bond roots, it tells a more personal and in depth story than we've ever seen featuring 007.
In virtually every other Bond film, it's been James out to stop the bad guy, get the girl, and save the world.
Skyfall focuses on a more personal story of revenge in which M's (Judi Dench) past comes back to haunt her.
The main plot point involves a former agent, Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem) bent on exacting revenge on M for betraying him some years prior.
The film focuses on several key literary points as well, with two in particular standing out--death and resurrection.
Throughout the entire film, Silva is seemingly one step ahead of everybody in planning his revenge and the death of M.
After a failed hit on M during a courtroom proceeding, Bond seemingly kidnaps M in an effort to draw Silva out and onto a field of battle of his own choosing.
Going off the grid, Bond and M return to Skyfall, the estate where Bond spent his boyhood years.
The actual name Skyfall is a direct reference to the Norse mythological end of the world--Ragnarok-- in which the sky literally falls down from the heavens, raining death from above.
After reaching the Skyfall estate, Bond and M reunite with head gamekeeper, Kincaid, and prepare for Silva's impending attack. At one point while showing M the grounds, Kincaid shows a secret passage from the house, where James spent two days after finding out his parents had died. And when he emerged, "He was no longer a boy," yet another nod to the theme of resurrection.
In the final battle, the landscape literally resembles an apocalyptic setting with sparse life, which culminates in an epic battle of wits between Silva and Bond.
The film as a whole pivots on the theme of resurrection, seemingly giving a new start to the series, despite the reboot of Casino Royale (2006), being the first film to feature Craig as Bond. All throughout the film, there are subtle nods to the classic 007 films, such as the position of the MI6 office at the end of the film, with Miss Moneypenny being the secretary to the new M, Garreth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes).
At one point when switching cars, Bond actually gets back in his old 1960 Aston Martin DB5, the biggest nod of all back to the era of Sean Connery.
Bond also reverts back to his trusty Walther PPK, but shies away from using a lot of the previously used Q-branch gadgets, like exploding pens and ejector seats (though both are mentioned quite cleverly at separate points).
It is here, leaving behind the old Bond and rebooting the series as a whole the theme of rebirth really takes off. By the end of the film, you may actually mistake Craig for Connery because the likeness is clear as day.
Bond quite literally does embody the resurrection theme, having been presumed dead following the film's opening sequence and coming back to M and MI6 in their darkest hour.
The cast is what you would expect. Dench delivers one of her finest roles in her final performance as M. Craig becomes lost in the 007 role, with his quips and a man on the edge trying to get back in the game to protect his boss, and mother figure.
The real star of the show, however, is Bardem. Bardem is flat out scary in his portrayal of Silva--a man bent on revenge and who will stop at nothing until his task is complete.
The final action scene in the film is a touching one, revealing the most emotion ever seen by a Bond film, but Craig delivers it with perfection.
There are lots of other Easter eggs hidden throughout the entire movie, and finding them is half the fun in watching it. Skyfall knows its roots and doesn't shy away from paying homage to them.
It's perhaps the best Bond to date. It's gritty. It's personal. It's not too futuristic with the gadgets, and the acting is some of the best in the 23-film series.
Craig is contracted to do at least one more Bond film, but hopefully he will consider returning for many more.
Skyfall is a must see for any fan of the 007 series, or any action fan in general.
As the final frame dictates prior to the credits, "James Bond will return."
And I can't wait.