By the time of Daniel Craig’s third go-round as Bond, he had already owned the role, but he hadn’t been given a legendary villain. Sam Mendes fixed that when he cast Oscar-winner Javier Bardem as Silva, and gave us-arguably-the best Bond film of them all. Skyfall tells more about Bond’s boyhood and maturation than the previous 22 films combined without actually giving him an origin story. I know they’re going deeper down the rabbit hole in SPECTRE, but I always felt Wolverine lost a lot as a character when his whole origin was neatly laid out, and I think Bond would, as well.
This really is as much Judi Dench’s picture as it is Daniel Craig’s and after six films as M, she certainly earned a co-starring role as she and Bond hunt and are hunted by Silva. Bardem is certainly flashy and over-the-top in the Bond villain tradition, but unlike most, he’s every bit as good as James, and spends most of the film beating him quite handily. There’s so much good and done right in this film that it’s hard to nail a scene as my favorite, but I love a good entrance. When you get your villain making monologues from the get-go, you know you’ve got a good one. I’m going to cheat and also stick in Silva’s reunion scene with M, because I can’t decide between the two. Bardem should have at least gotten an Oscar nomination for this film. Just brilliant.