Rated 4.0

We've had James Bond movies for 50 years now, and this one treats the benchmark like a special occasion. It's clever how Daniel Craig still is becoming the devilish 007 we've always known, even as his third outing in the role applies a framework of fussing over oldness and possible obsolescence. Part of Skyfall's project is sorting relics from ruins. The movie does right by its major players, including the impeccably tailored Craig and the immortally matriarchal Judi Dench, plus welcomes franchise newcomers Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw and Naomie Harris. Its blowback plot involves Javier Bardem delighting in villainy and a rather cheeky British take on Freudian mama's-boy anguish. Urbane yet never too serious, and beautifully shot by Roger Deakins, this all seems a good fit for director Sam Mendes, who's made his career imposing a sort of British pretense on American movies. The posh popcorn-muncher seems like just what the Bond experience always was all about. Nice to see there's a future in it.