Starring Daniel Craig as 007 for a third time, Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes has hit the bull's eye with Skyfall. Judi Dench takes centre stage and 007 faces a terrifying blond-off with Javier Bardem in a supremely enjoyable 50th anniversary outing.
Cast: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Bérénice Marlohe, Albert Finney
Reviewer: Jenny McCartney, The Telegraph
The new James Bond film, Skyfall, makes much of the fact that 007 is getting older: he gets shot, he nearly drowns, his recovery times are slower and his marksmanship skills are flagging. What remains of him is will, a force that Daniel Craig - a man who appears to have sinews in his eyeballs - is well placed to express.
It is not a perfectly structured film: the final third sprawls and drags a little, and a cynic might reflect – without giving too much away – that Bond himself is developing a tendency to risk and promise much without successfully delivering. But it’s far from dull, and for much of the time, it dazzles.
Reviewer: Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
This is the seventh time Judi Dench has played the enigmatic spy-chief M. But it is only in this storming new Bond movie that her M has really been all that she could be. Under the stylish direction of Sam Mendes, Dench's M is quite simply the Bond girl to end all Bond girls.
The 50th anniversary of the big-screen Bond was the right time to pull off something big. Skyfall is a hugely enjoyable action spectacular, but more grounded and cogent than the previous and disappointing outing, Quantum of Solace. It finds the right position on the spectrum between extravagance and realism: what I think of as the imaginary line running from Bond's invisible car in Die Another Day and Peter Guillam's Citroën DS in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
Reviewer: Jonathan Romney, The Independent
'Were you expecting an exploding pen? We don't really go in for that any more," says MI6 quartermaster Q to James Bond, as he presents him with some basic field kit – a gun and a radio transmitter. Skyfall is the third in the relaunched series of back-to-basics Bond, stripping away the flashier absurdities of old.
I didn't much care for the new approach in 2006's reboot episode, Casino Royale, which struck me as joyless and brutish. But Skyfall, which sees the series entrusted to the prestigious hands of Sam Mendes, puts fire back into the old formula. It takes the 007 legacy seriously, and gives us all the quintessential ingredients, without the coy self-mockery that dogged the series at its weakest. Here's an intelligent, narratively propulsive Bond, the freshest, most entertaining episode in ages.
Reviewer: Deborah Ross, The Spectator
Skyfall is the latest James Bond film, as directed by Sam Mendes, which I felt I should make clear, as there is always so little pre-publicity around these releases. (You’d think the marketing people would splatter the poster on every bus and ensure every newspaper runs through every Bond Girl yet again, wouldn’t you? Pathetic.) But, now it has quietly sneaked up on us, is it any good? Yes, it is rather. It takes up the baton which Casino Royale proffered but Quantum of Solace dropped.
There are longueurs in this film and, as I’m not an action fan, I found the action scenes went on for far, far too long, but as an attempt to fill in Bond as a character, rather than just make the same film over, Mendes has succeeded, I think.
Reviewer: Baz Bamigboye, Daily Mail
Bond is back and he's more dangerous than ever but so is M who is the most ruthless character in Skyfall. As played by Dame Judi Dench, the security services chief is like a lioness in winter as she prowls her office ordering an agent to 'take the bloody shot', a move that puts Daniel Craig's craggy James Bond in grave danger.
A sinister force from M's past, played with delicious relish by Javier Bardem, has stolen the identities of M's agents.
Reviewer: The Times
Skyfall is a great British bulldog of a movie. From the moment the orchestral sound of Adele belts out, sending a nostalgic shiver down the audience’s collective spine, we know this will be a triumphant return to classic Bond. Sam Mendes, the director, deftly balances fanboy worship of 007 tradition with sophisticated film-making, and (apart from early Connery), nobody does it better than Daniel Craig.
Craig is back for a third time on craggy, witty, world-weary form; steely and tightly tailored, while M moves to centre stage as the plot thickens deliciously.
Reviewer: Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
Daniel Craig returns for his third turn as the British secret agent in a new James Bond story from director Sam Mendes. The movie James Bond is now 50 years old and wearing his years very well in Skyfall.
The most significant reset of the 23-film series that's unconnected to a change of the actor playing 007, this long-awaited third outing for Daniel Craig feels more seriously connected to real-world concerns than any previous entry, despite the usual outlandish action scenes, glittering settings and larger-than-life characters.