Skyfall

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Daniel Craig’s term as James Bond can, I think, be considered the gold standard of continuity reboots. From the very first scene of 2006’s Casino Royale, where Bond battles a man in a public toilet before dispatching a nameless Russian guy with a quip and a smile, we’re introduced to the film’s mission statement: To blend classic Bond film elements with darker, more realistic modern spy movie tropes.

This formula worked wonders in Casino Royale, but was disappointingly toned down in Quantum of Solace, the sequel, which tried to minimize the Bond stuff to make way for the modern stuff, and made for an underwhelming experience. Luckily, since Skyfall was intended as a celebration of the franchise’s 50th anniversary, Bond stuff was not only expected but mandated, and the contrast between the two gives the movie some really memorable scenes and images. But what catapults it to the best of Bond is more than that: Skyfall has an excellently realized story – a thematic character study and political spy-thriller both – assisted by a tight script and excellent performances.

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