My SPOILER FREE review of Skyfall:
If From Russia with Love is the apex of the Bond franchise, then I certainly think Skyfall has breached the outer walls of its defences. A perfectly crafted film that works both as an excellent thriller as well as a classic Bond movie, it seems the series has permanently left the squirm-inducing puns and tacky self-referentialism that completely destroyed Die Another Day ten years ago. Director Sam Mendes handles the action very, very well (no shaky cams or dizzying editing here) and he doesn’t let the set pieces take over the film. This is probably the most character-driven Bond ever made. Not only does Daniel Craig get plenty of screentime, but so does Judi Dench (superb), Javier Bardem (scarily intense and one of Bond’s best and most cunningly manipulative adversaries) and supporting cast Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finny and Ben Whilshaw.
In fact, this is the first film I have seen this year where I could genuinely not predict where it was going. The audience is left nicely off-centred throughout, even more so by the big changes that are brought forth, while reinstating some of the old traditions. Mendes balances both very well, never losing sight of the major themes which Bond more relevant now he has been since the fall of Communism. The cinematography by Roger Deakins is great as is the script; only one or two humorous asides feel out of place. Great in every department and more intelligent than all of Pierce Brosnan’s films combined, this is simply a really good movie that leaves its contemporaries in the shade. Goodbye Moonraker, A View to a Kill and Die Another Day. Their likes will not be seen again for an age.