Skyfall 007 Review: Latest James Bond Installment Places Him in a Gritty, Modern World

SkyFall: 007 opened to huge critical and commercial success. It is the third film of the rebooted Daniel Craig Bonds. I have accepted a new Bond film coming out semi-regularly as a staple of modern life, but I remember a time when I thought: “Wait, didn’t they already do that movie about a thousand times?”

Yes, they have, but it is something our culture needs to do, and here are two reasons why.

The first reason these films continue to be made is about money. We, the consumer, like those movies, and will pay to see them no matter how many times they get made. Studios make them because people buy them. People buy them because they are familiar and dependable. Bond movies are like Hershey's chocolate, or Starbucks. They aren’t a risky investment. Viewers know exactly what to expect because they have refined their formula down to a science.  The studios make money. The audience sees sex and violence wrapped in a classy suit. Everyone is happy.

An appealing mythology also keeps the Bond cannon evergreen. Ian Fleming himself, author of the original James Bond novels, said that his books had "no social significance except a deleterious one." That’s completely fine, because that isn’t what the Bond ethos is about. The Bond aesthetic is a fantasy. The Bond character is a superhero, and the Bond narrative is a myth. For most of his career he has been the perfect spy,a man without consequences with a license to kill, and a magnetic power over women. The story was pure escapist fantasy. The movies marched on for decades, until they got a little too glitzy for their perfectly tailored trousers. Enter the reboot.

The Daniel Craig Bond is still the archetype in his new, blond form, but he’s been given a gritty, post-9/11 makeover. Basically, the franchise had jumped the shark and it was time to make it modern and credible for an audience who no longer believed in a world without consequences. Now the hero can be hurt, and the world of spies is a dirtier and sadder place. The Skyfall premise, “this time it’s personal,” is still a classic one. This retro setup works in our time because we get to keep the basic Bond character of the best spy ever, and layer in terrorism, the issue of the decade.

What’s surprising to me is not that we remake Bond over and over, but that so few movies have followed this serial format. If it works for comic books, TV series, and books (particularly mystery novels) you would have thought movies would do more of it. Of course, given the number of reboots and remakes we’ve seen over the last few years, perhaps Hollywood has figured it out.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Stephanie Hill

Steph Hill would be an intimidating combination of brains and physical prowess if she weren't such a geek.

MORE FROM

Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington was open about his pain. That doesn’t make his death less shocking.

“If it wasn’t for music, I’d be dead,” Bennington once said. “One hundred percent.”

Please stop hating on ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

Christopher Nolan's final Batman film is simply not as bad as some fans think.

It’s time for Steve Whitmire to let Kermit the Frog go

The veteran puppeteer is having a tough time relinquishing his 27-year relationship with the famous Muppet.

Debate: Is director Christopher Nolan the best or the worst filmmaker of our time?

Mic asked two staff members to debate the relative merits of award-winning director Christopher Nolan and his movies.

‘The Vampire Diaries’ ending could be what saves ‘The Originals’

The end of 'The Vampire Diaries' could mean a new beginning for 'The Originals.'

Let’s needlessly overthink these ‘Game of Thrones’ photos from “Stormborn”

Sam's still at the Citadel, looking miserable.

Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington was open about his pain. That doesn’t make his death less shocking.

“If it wasn’t for music, I’d be dead,” Bennington once said. “One hundred percent.”

Please stop hating on ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

Christopher Nolan's final Batman film is simply not as bad as some fans think.

It’s time for Steve Whitmire to let Kermit the Frog go

The veteran puppeteer is having a tough time relinquishing his 27-year relationship with the famous Muppet.

Debate: Is director Christopher Nolan the best or the worst filmmaker of our time?

Mic asked two staff members to debate the relative merits of award-winning director Christopher Nolan and his movies.

‘The Vampire Diaries’ ending could be what saves ‘The Originals’

The end of 'The Vampire Diaries' could mean a new beginning for 'The Originals.'

Let’s needlessly overthink these ‘Game of Thrones’ photos from “Stormborn”

Sam's still at the Citadel, looking miserable.