Because it’s Bond, there’s a casino scene. And while it doesn’t have Bond and the villain competing for alpha dog status at the baccarat table, it still manages to be one of the more visually exciting casinos in Bond’s history. It’s also the home to an action scene that manages to be both powerful and ridiculous. A Komodo Dragon plays a key role, and that’s all I can say about that.
Javier Bardem is a standout as the tech villain, Silva. The franchise hasn’t given us a truly memorable villain since Xenia Onatopp in Goldeneye, but Bardem enters the movie late into its runtime and then takes over. His introduction is amazing, as he reveals himself to a captive Bond and then almost immediately starts to caress him. Here’s the thing I love – it’s actually a sexually charged scene, and it seems to be that Silva thinks he’s going to throw Bond off his game, and it doesn’t work. As recently as Brosnan, it’s a scene that would have been played for comedy or worse, for Gay Panic. It’s only alarming in the sense that Bond is so completely powerless, but it’s played the same way that it would be if the aggressor were, say, Famke Janssen. James Bond has finally figured out the 21st Century.