‘Skyfall’: Rave Reviews Are in for New James Bond Thriller

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Daniel Craig's James Bond has a train to catch.
Bond is back — and by most accounts, just as epic as ever.

After four years away, Daniel Craig’s James Bond is making a grand return to the big screen in the spy saga’s 23rd installment, Skyfall. While we won’t see the secret agent tackle his latest larger-than-life mission in U.S. theaters till Nov. 9, early reviews are already streaming in for the big action film.

And the bar was undoubtedly set high for Craig’s third run as the smooth-talking, martini-sipping 007. Following the lackluster response to the franchise’s last flick, Quantum of Solace — and with the added symbolic pressure of 2012 marking James Bond’s 50th anniversary on film — all are waiting for Skyfall to keep moviegoers on the edge of their seats with an enthralling storyline, death-defying stunts and award-worthy acting.

Does the Sam Mendes-directed installment deliver?

Skyfall is already garnering widespread accolades — even being put forth as one of the best-ever in the 50-year-old Bond franchise.

Read on for a sampling for what critics are saying:

Hollywood Reporter: “Dramatically gripping while still brandishing a droll undercurrent of humor, this beautifully made film will certainly be embraced as one of the best Bonds by loyal fans worldwide and leaves you wanting the next one to turn up sooner than four years from now.”

Moveline: “Skyfall has most of the familiar ingredients of Bond film — beautiful women, intense action scenes.a charismatic villain and sleek cars — the Aston Martin DB5 makes a cameo appearance that will be talked about for a long time. The movie pointedly eschews the spy gadgetry of earlier Bond films to focus on human circuitry, and the pivotal surprises that the movie delivers in the final scenes pack a lot more wallop than the climactic explosions.”

The Independent: “Mendes has gone back to basics: chases, stunts, fights. At the same time, he has subtly re-invented the franchise, throwing in far greater depth of characterization than we’re accustomed to in a series of films that are often proudly superficial…. Craig again impresses as Bond. He switches without fuss from Roger Moore-style self-deprecating comedy (adjusting his cuff links in action sequences) to the darker, more intense scenes which focus on Bond’s childhood traumas.”

The Guardian: “Craig, as ever, makes for a splendidly authoritative Bond, even when he’s suffering a crisis of faith and scowling at his reflection inside dirty mirrors. But he’s matched beautifully by [Javier] Bardem’s playful, jubilant turn as the silken Raoul Silva, who sets out to turn 007 against M (“Mummy’s been very bad”) and quite possibly take her place… the makers of Skyfall have taken the bold decision to open Bond up – to probe at the character’s back-story and raise a toast to his relationship with M.”

Herald Sun: “Whatever parallels it shares with the Bourne series or [Christopher] Nolan’s astonishingly realized Batman saga, Skyfall radically breaks from the Bond formula while still remaining true to its essential beats, presenting a rare case in which audiences can no longer anticipate each twist in advance. Without sacrificing action or overall energy, Mendes puts the actors at the forefront, exploring their marvelously complex emotional states in ways the franchise has never before dared.”

The Times: “From the moment the orchestral sound of Adele belts out, sending a nostalgic shiver down the audience’s collective spine, we know this will be a triumphant return to classic Bond. Sam Mendes, the director, deftly balances fanboy worship of 007 tradition with sophisticated film-making, and (apart from early [Sean] Connery), nobody does it better than Daniel Craig.”

The Telegraph: “When is a Bond film not a Bond film? It’s a question likely to prey on the minds of the very many cinema goers who will see this 23rd official 007 adventure. Skyfall shakes together familiar elements of the Ian Fleming canon – the cars, the guns, the exotic locales with the dames to match – into a blistering comic book escapade that the old Bond, and one suspects Fleming too, would find altogether alien.”

Variety: “Putting the ‘intelligence’ in MI6, Skyfall reps a smart, savvy and incredibly satisfying addition to the 007 oeuvre, one that places Judi Dench’s M at the center of the action. It’s taken 23 films and 50 years to get Bond’s backstory, but the wait was worth it. In Sam Mendes’ hands, the franchise comes full circle, revealing the three-film Daniel Craig cycle to be both prelude and coda to the entire series via a foxy chess move that puts these pics on par with Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy as best-case exemplars of what cinematic brands can achieve, resulting in a recipe for nothing short of world domination.”

Will you see Skyfall when it hits theaters on Nov. 9? Weigh in below!

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