Time waits for no man, not even the suave and sharply attired 007.
In the 50 years since Ian Fleming’s debonair secret agent introduced himself to Sylvia Trench at a card table in Dr No, global politics have changed beyond recognition.
What hasn’t changed is the need for a gripping opening sequence. Here it is brilliantly orchestrated by director Sam Mendes, who draws heavily on the Bourne franchise to propel Bond and field agent Eve (Naomie Harris) through the winding streets of Istanbul.
The mission ends in apparent tragedy and while section chief M (Dame Judi Dench) pens 007’s obituary she also has to fend off sustained attacks on her reputation when it emerges a database of MI6 assets has fallen into the wrong hands.
Skyfall looks stunning, courtesy of cinematographer Roger Deakins and action sequences don’t disappoint.
The closing 20 minutes are the only obvious misstep by screenwriters Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan. Desperate to tie up loose ends, they hurriedly introduce Bond’s old gamekeeper Kincade (Albert Finney), who exists purely to manoeuvre characters into position.
Director Mendes gets high on nostalgia to the obvious delight of Bond purists.However, he spends slightly too long looking back and consequently stumbles with the lacklustre final showdown more befitting of an episode of The A-Team than the second biggest film franchise in movie history.