Before I talk about Skyfall, Daniel Craig’s third outing as the enigmatic secret agent James Bond, I need to tell you two important things. Firstly, I am one of those people whose impatience means I struggle to avoid the temptation of flicking to the last page in a book, or searching for the twist in the latest blockbuster. This habit has been made all the more of a problem thanks to Wikipedia, my nemesis when trying to avoid spoiling any major releases. Secondly, I’ve been a Bond fan since the Brosnan era, growing up with his rather complicated gadgets and cheeky quips (a personal favourite being when he creatively dispatched of a villainous henchman in Tomorrow Never Dies by throwing him into a printing press, following up this act with ‘They’ll print anything these days…’). Now, with both of these facts in mind, you can understand why the temptation to spoil Skyfall by giving in to my annoying habit was especially strong.
Bond in a Morphsuit
However, for once I managed to control my curious nature, avoiding the major spoilers before Skyfall was released, and even after it had begun raking in enormous profits at cinema’s worldwide. Thanks to this, the bombshell that Judi Dench’s ‘M’ was making her final appearance in Skyfall hit me with its full effect. As the sad background music in her final scene built to a crescendo, I was waiting for the heroic twist. As she uttered her dramatic final words, I was sure her rescue was imminent. Even when she breathed her last breath, eyes open and locked in a stare, my eyes flicked to the corners of the screen, waiting for the switch in action which would result in the rescue of the MI6 matriarch. With M bleeding out in the arms of Bond, and the next scene discussing the reading of her will, I began thinking that she was probably dead.
What are the odds of a Zombie M in the next film?
Of course, M’s exit was a major piece of the film’s overarching themes of death and resurrection. Right from the opening sequence, a train-hopping, motorbike-racing, market stall-smashing thrill ride in Turkey, it is made extremely clear that Skyfall should be viewed as a conclusion and, just as importantly, a transitional rebirth of Bond. The traditional opening sequence focuses on Bond’s ‘death’, with some subtle and not-so subtle presentations of this theme (a tombstone reading ‘Bond’ being a blindingly obvious one). Bond bluntly tells Raoul Silva, the film’s main antagonist played by the terrific Javier Bardem, that he works in ‘resurrection’. The destruction of his childhood home, a source of personal demons for 007 which prevents him from truly moving on, is another metaphor for the franchise’s transition. And the re-introduction of Miss Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) shows that the franchise, whilst carrying on with its modern, gritty feel, is also going back to its roots. Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes), who is revealed to be M’s replacement at the film’s conclusion, has a traditional air about him, presented in his old-school braces and oak-laden office (and surely a Ron Burgundy-esque ‘rich smell of mahogany’).
Any excuse to include this glorious man
Overall then, I can confidently say that Skyfall is one of the best Bond films of my generation, and with the introduction of a new team backing up 007, the franchise has the potential of setting up a fantastic new era. Therefore, if Craig plays his cards right in his next outing, and is blessed with a strong director, he has now been set up with the opportunity to stamp his name as the iconic Bond.