Could high expectations be the reason for Skyfall's downfall? Maybe, but then the film does stand tall on its feet even though it isn't as great as the initial reviews suggested. Mind you, it's a solid film and one of the best Bond films we have had, just not the best. Personally, I still hold Casino Royale as the film that took Bond to an entirely new level and made it grittier and darker than its predecessors and Skyfall continues on the same theme with only minor changes thrown in to stir up the audience, which in all honesty is a good thing.
Talking about Skyfall in detail would be giving away too much. Just like any good spy thriller, it is laden with enough twists and turns that even disclosing one would result in the breakdown of the entire film. So, I’ll simply say that the story gets personal this time, as did Quantum of Solace, but with adjustments that make Skyfall a lot more enjoyable. The typical Bond-British humor is there, the Bond girls are there, the usual characters are almost all there, but what we do have in addition is a Bond villain after a long time that will stand the test of time and remain memorable. The credit for that goes to Javier Bardem who portrays the villainous Silva with such panache that by the last act even Craig's Bond ends up with a major complex as he comments on Silva's ability to make a somewhat grand entrance.
Where Skyfall succeeds is in cunningly holding a few Aces up its sleeves. What is does beautifully is make the audience nostalgic about the entire franchise highlighted even more with the classic theme song by Adele which is reminiscent of the earlier Bond films. There is enough exploration of the past, both in the films story and in the execution of the film by director Sam Medes, that any ardent fan of the series could not help but fall for this new Bond that is all business and much less talk than his earlier avatars. There is also a certain progressiveness to the entire character development of Bond to the extent the three films starring Daniel Craig come very close to being termed as a trilogy, and maybe that is why my personal favourite remains Casino Royale because it was responsible for kick-starting this new age of Bond.
Skyfall makes for recommended viewing even if you are not a Bond fan. The story, while it has its inside jokes, can be understood and enjoyed by a first timer. I have always believed that having a memorable villain means half the battle is won for any action film, and Skyfall ticks that box with a certain pride and a willingness to explore the boundaries of what the audience expects. With the promise that Bond will returnthings look promising for the future, and I have a slight inkling that the next Bond film will be even more back to the basics when it comes to those three Gs; Guns, Girls, and Gadgets.