Bond's takedown of Silva's men after Silva kills Severine.
Bond casually kicking a dead henchman's weapon up into his hand during the siege with an air of complete annoyance on his face - you can just tell he's thinking "Why won't these morons just give up and die already?"
What makes it all the more awesome? Said Scotsman is just a groundskeeper and game hunter for Bond's family. Yet he manages to take on Mooks armed with the latest weapons and tactics with nothing more than his old hunting shotgun And survive!
Particularly beautiful as it comes after Bond has endured many jibes about his age, "old-fashioned" methods and supposed obsolescence. The victory with the radio shows that, as a character comments later in the movie, "sometimes the old ways are the best".
Silva's eventual victory, in spite of costing his life, echoes the 'old ways being the best' in that when years of planning with computer virus, youtube leaks and hacking failed, sending a shitload of guys with guns in actually worked. Indeed, The Bad Guy Wins. Skyfall is a Bond film of many firsts.
Bond's entrance on the train in the opening chase scene.He tears a hole in the roof of a carriage with a digger, LEAPS THROUGH THE HOLE WHILE THE TRAIN'S STILL IN MOTION...and casually stops to readjust his cufflinks. Win.
Even better is the fact that wasn't CGI, nor was it a stuntman. That was really Daniel Craig and that was a real train!
Bond is on the run with M in her company Jaguar. They pull up outside a nondescript garage in the middle of the night. M wonders what they're doing, "Changing vehicles" replies Bond pulling open the garage door. The lights go on, a pristine and very familiar Aston Martin gleams, a slow version of the Bond theme kicks in and all is right with the world.
Bond just rode a motorcycle off a bridge. No, wait, he didn't. Any pissante action hero can ride a motorcycle off a bridge. Bond just rode a motorcycle into the bridge's balustrade, so that it flipped and sent him flying through the air. To land on. A moving. Train. Holy balls, did that just happen? Why do cinemas not have rewind buttons?
In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, you can see that the motorcycle flips a few time to finally land on its tires after the jump. Power parking to the absolute max.
Silva drops a train on Bond. Okay, he missed, but still. He dropped a train on the guy.
The whole climax in the Bond manor, with Bond, M, and Kincade taking on Silva's goons, and Bond creating a bomb that hits one of their helicopters as it crashes into the manor. It's a bit bittersweet, but that was one pretty sweet explosion.
The ejector seat is teased but when Silva's goons walk past the Aston we cut to Bond hiding in the front seat, ready to unleash one of the old girl's other gadgets.
M's response to the government minister who's been going on and on about how MI 6 is irrelevant is a thing of beauty.
When Silva crashes the government committee meeting, with every intention of killing M, Gareth Mallory shows us exactly what he's worth. Mallory, with no hesitation, jumps over the committee table, and gets to M just in time to take a bullet for her. Then he gets up and participates in the ensuing gun battle, and manages to kill more people than Bond. Retired Badass indeed.
Bond gets a moment when he starts shooting the fire extinguishers to give him, Mallory and Eve some cover.
That little wink Bond throws Mallory right before shooting the extinguishers, too.
Silva also deserves a mention: taking on three guns singlehandedly and, in the end, making a tactical retreat without a scratch on him.
M's speech, intercut with scenes of Silva violently making his way across London, is extremely effective.
Bond vs. Patrice in Shanghai. Particularly impressive as it was done in one shot.
Silva's very first scene in the chemical plant as he gives a long monologue about a childhood incident with rats and comparing it to the situation with him, Bond, and M while walking from the far side of the corridor. All done again in one shot.
IRL, Skyfall is the first Bond film to break a billion at the box office (even though Thunderball did beat it to a billion adjusted for inflation).
Another RL example: "Skyfall" the song wound up being the very first James Bond theme to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
For Bond fans, the introduction of Q and Moneypenny, in addition to Judi Dench passing the torch of M to Ralph Fiennes after a splendid 17-year run, re-introducing tradition into the current Craig-era films.
The opening scenes and credits let the viewer know that shit is getting serious in the best way possible.