Skyfall marks fifty years of James Bond films. It’s also the first entry in the series after an almost unprecedented four-year break, and a chance for the franchise to rebound after the soggy Quantum of Solace. Luckily, Skyfall is a solid movie on its own terms, while still managing to embrace fifty years of Bond and do something new with the character.

2006’s Casino Royale introduced Daniel Craig as the new Bond, as well as bringing a shift in the overall style of the films. Gone were the gadgets, the double entendre, and the larger-than-life set pieces. No Q, no Moneypenny, no Bond theme. Casino Royale went so far as to remove the previous twenty films from continuity altogether with a hard reboot of the character. And while Casino Royale had its moments, it was noticeably lacking in fun. It didn’t feel like James Bond – the cheese was part of the character, and Craig seemed like a completely different guy. Laser pens are part of the 007 milieu; genital torture isn’t. Quantum compounded the problem by being boring. Even the worst old-school Bond films (by which I mean The Man with the Golden Gun and A View to a Kill) featured something memorable, a great moment or two that would go into the Bond highlight reel.

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