James Bond is back. This weekend, after raking in over $300 million globally, North America can finally see what all the fuss is all about. The buzz is high, with a current 93 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Plus, Daniel Craig has already signed on for two more 007 films—rumors are swirling that the flicks will be shot back-to-back, a first for the franchise.
Skyfall is a game-changer for a series celebrating 50 years on the big screen. Award-winning director Sam Mendes (who worked with Craig on The Road to Perdition) focuses on the characters of Bond, M (Judi Dench) and new bottle-blond baddie Silva (Javier Bardem). Many Bond staples are here: exotic locales, beyond gorgeous gals, explosions and a villain with grandiose plans. Even at two-and-a-half hours Skyfall never falters. After the end credits roll, you'll want to hold off on a new adventure and opt for this assignment again. And again.
Are we just Bond crazy lately? Perhaps. For many, Quantum of Solace wasn't a favorite, but Skyfall is one of the best blockbusters we've seen in a year that included The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises and The Hunger Games. Why is Skyfall the best Bond ever? Read on to find out. Warning: mild spoilers ahead!
1. Adele Does Right by Bond: Hearing Adele's ode to '70s-era ballads as 007 sinks deeper in a watery grave sets the tone for the entire film. There are still plenty of lovely shapes and weapons though.
2. Agent 007 Is Realistic and That's OK: A world-weary Bond is more human ever—he's also a lousy shot. Why does he hate the mention of "Skyfall"? He's definitely got issues. He's also much slower, emphasizing the theme that Bond is part of bygone era. But can he still wrestle a rifle from a killer in a neon-lit skyscraper in Macau? Survive a shootout in London? Yup.
3. Villainous Silva Could Be Bond's First Gay Bad Guy: Bardem's baddie is a former spy, a former M favorite (with mother issues) and in one of the best introductions ever, makes a pass at 007. Bond, the ultimate ladies man, gives a reply that shows just how progressive Her Majesty's secret agent really is.
4. M Breaks Our Hearts: When Dench became M in 1995's GoldenEye she was tough as nails, claiming to have no qualms about sending 007 to his death. Here, she makes good on that. Her emotional toll is the heart of Skyfall. M is almost the costar of this entry. Finally!
5. Nobody Has Done It Better: Fans endlessly debated which filmmaker would make the ultimate 007 film. Clearly, director Sam Mendes, with his skill with actors, was the right choice. And cinematographer Roger Deakins, who shot Bardem in No Country for Old Men, gives all the iconic elements—the gadgets, the set pieces and yes, an Aston Martin—a fresh coat of paint. As Bond takes a boat ride in Shanghai, the colors pop. Bond looks like he has finally arrived. Indeed he has.
Can Skyfall be that good? Spoiler: Yes, yes it can. What's your favorite 007 adventure? Sound off in the comments!