I saw the movie last night. I wasn't blown away, but I enjoyed the ride. The story had a lot of elements we've seen before... Bond disappears/goes rogue/embarks on a mission that's personal. Done already. The fundamentals that make up a Bond movie though, were a mixed bag with a lot of them being pretty strong. Here's my breakdown...
I'm glad we didn't get a "Die Another Tomorrow Never Dies" kind of thing.
The Cover Song & Opening Montage:
I wasn't impressed with Adele's song. It was too generic. Nothing about it really stood out. I can't hum it, it didn't add a distinctive sound or feel to the movie and I can't even remember it now. The montage was pretty good though. I love it when Bond ends up in a seemingly fatal situation just before the opening sequence starts, with a little of that worked into the montage. That has yet to get old for me. And graveyards? Made me think of Brosnan wanting a Bond ghost story. I thought it was just there for style, but it made sense in the end.
I liked seeing Bond fleshed out and humanized a little more, the way they've been doing with the Craig films already. This time, he's not in tip-top shape but he still has a boss who has faith in him. I also liked the line about his substance addiction and his dislike of authority. It added some good rationale to the aforementioned story elements we've seen before. We also got a glimpse into his past. Not a lot, but enough to make an impression. All in all, he's not the caricature he was becoming with the Brosnan films. Craig is starting to age though. Hope he doesn't turn into Roger Moore crica A View to a Kill
. Still, I like Craig's ruggedness. Bond isn't supposed to be a pretty boy.
I don't think Bardem will go down as one of the most memorable villains, but he did play the part to perfection. He was a pretty disturbing psychopath indeed, with just enough style and eccentricity to be a proper Bond villain. Now that you mention it, he does remind me of the Joker. I especially liked his gay/bisexual infatuation with Bond and the maniacal laugh after he put his teeth in. Those were moments that stood out for me the most. It might have been interesting if they went further with the gay/bi infatuation bit, but then I figured that any sort of "rape" would be too much for a Bond movie. The audience might have ended up just as traumatized as Bond himself.
The Bond Girl(s):
They didn't give us the classic Bond Girl & romance, but they did remind us that he's a womanizer with just a brief scene. They also threw us a little something with Sévérine, but she got killed off pretty quickly and unexpectedly didn't she? No matter, the real Bond Girl was something a little different… Naomie Harris as Eve Moneypenny. Giving a classic character a substantial role with a twist and more of a background was a real treat. I was looking forward to seeing her in a Craig film and this was a great way to introduce her.
They made London look too cold and drab, but I agree with what Garak
said about Shanghai. The scenes there were shot very well and it did look like the coolest place in the world. Reminded me of Blade Runner
A gun and a radio. Basic but effective. Even more fun though was our gadget man, the new Q. Ben Whishaw as a younger Q that was more like the IT guy from Covert Affairs
was a fresh and welcome way to go. Works for me just fine. We also got to see the old Aston Martin. It was a nice little homage. Too bad it was destroyed.
I didn't know that Sean Connery was up for the role of Kinkaid. It's funny because when he showed up, I too thought… Wouldn't it have been a hoot if he were played by Sean Connery? Then I figured that it might have been too distracting.
I also liked the ending. We have Bond back and ready for duty, a new M that reminds me of the classic ones, Moneypenny, and Q. It took three movies, but Bond as we know it has finally come together. I look forward to the next two installments. A two-parter should be fun.