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YMMV / Skyfall

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  • Adorkable: Unlike his cantankerous predecessors, Whishaw's Q has a polite, quiet demeanour and a preppy fashion sense which make him cute and geeky. It is turned Up to Eleven in next film while the Insufferable Genius part is considerably toned down.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Is Silva a Tragic Villain and Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, or a childish monster who is the victim of his own behaviour (since M only sold him out because he was hacking the Chinese without authorization). On the one hand his Trauma Conga Line was pretty nasty involving torture and betrayal; on the other though, he commits a staggering amount of murders and engineers a terrorist campaign solely out of petty revenge against one person, and the Offstage Villainy he alludes to is implied to be even worse, funding a decadent lifestyle via crashing financial markets, orchestrating terrorist attacks or causing and faking disasters.
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    • Similarly, there is disagreement about Silva's Evil Plan. While it's obvious he intends to humiliate and then kill M, did he always plan on it being a murder-suicide or was killing himself simply the end of his Villainous BSoD, since Bond had foiled his original scheme and then proceeded to kill everyone in his organization, and M had already been fatally wounded by an underling despite his orders (albeit before he actually issued them).
    • Bond's response to Silva's seduction. Is Bond bisexual or at least had experimented with it in the past? Or is he just playing it cool to throw Silva off? (Or given where Silva's hand is, referring to what Le Chiffre did to him in Casino Royale?)
    • When Severine is facing Bond in Silva's twisted shooting contest, is she trying to silently beg him not to kill her, or does she actually want him to put her out of her misery after what appears to have been a savage beating (probably including gang-rape) and trauma at the hands of Silva's henchmen? Did Bond miss because of his injury and his degraded skills, or did he miss because he couldn't bring himself to end her life?
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  • And You Thought It Would Fail: The mixed feelings about Quantum of Solace led to some pundits and fan circles to claim that Daniel Craig's Bond was already done for at the time, not helped by the 4 years of Sequel Gap. Then Skyfall came out, and its smashing success on all fronts proved them wrong.
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • Bond doesn't seem too concerned when Severine is shot, despite saying he'd protect her. Well, except for the part where he mercilessly slaughtered Silva's men immediately after, but even that's ambiguous.
    • Bond also doesn't react strongly to the destruction of his childhood home where his parents died. Most jarringly, there's a secret tunnel where young Bond hid for two days after the death of his parents. Not only does Modern Bond enter the tunnel without the slightest hint that it holds any special meaning to him, but he outright states "I always hated this place". The DVD Commentary states that there was too much pain there for him to properly deal with, which is probably Bond invoking this trope.
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    • Eve is horrified when she initially "kills" Bond. But by the time he comes back from the dead, she seems to have gotten over it. With the time frame between Bond's "death" and return she had proper time to grieve over it and she did mention that she was considering taking a different profession since she still expressed guilt over the incident.
    • All in all, there's an awful lot of typically English Stiff Upper Lip.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: All it takes for the confrontation between Bond and Silva to end is for the former to throw a knife at the latter's back.
  • Award Snub:
    • After serious, genuine hype about the possibilities of Academy Award nominations for Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, as well for Best Picture, the film garnered no nominations in any of the big categories. On a more positive note, it received nominations for Best Song (which it won), Best Score, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing (which it also won) and Best Cinematography for Roger Deakins. It's actually more Oscar nominations for any Bond movie ever — beating out The Spy Who Loved Me — and more Oscar wins than any other in the series — surpassing both Goldfinger and Thunderball. That said, there were many who found Deakins' loss in the Cinematography category to be a large case of this, given how it was both his ninth nomination without a win and the film lost out to Life of Pi, which some accused of being less of a feat in photography, given how much of it relied on computer technology.
    • The BAFTAs do a bit better with their Best British Film nomination and includes supporting acting nominations for Dench and Bardem. Sam Mendes still gets snubbed. BAFTA has no Best Song award. On the other hand it won the BAFTA for the Best British Film, the first Bond film in 50 years to do so.
  • Awesome Music:
    • All of the score; little surprise due to Thomas Newman composing. He deservedly became the second composer to get nominated for Best Original Score, following Marvin Hamlisch for The Spy Who Loved Me.
    • Adele's theme "Skyfall", which incorporates the James Bond theme and foreshadows numerous events in the movie. It became the first Bond theme to win the Oscar for Best Original Song, said Oscar also being the first for the entire franchise since 1966 when Thunderball won Best Visual Effects and the first for an actual performance and not a technical award. For bonus points, Adele had only recently recovered from a strained throat that left her unable to speak for months.
    • "Boum!" by Charles Trenet, which is played during Severine's execution.
    • "Boom Boom" by The Animals, which is played when Silva shows up in the helicopter.
    • If you could somehow express the concept of Mythology Gag in musical form, you would probably wind up with "Breadcrumbs".
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Silva's *ahem* interest, in Bond. He starts blatantly coming on to him for a few minutes, then it's right back to the plot as though it never happened.
  • Broken Base: While the movie was a massive critical and commercial success and beloved in some quarters for its cinematography, darker themes, and grittier feel, ironically some diehard Bond fans frequently hate it. There's a variety of reasons for this (a completely joyless and ineffective Bond, the villain's relatively mundane plan, the child-prostitute turned Bond Girl (and the way Bond lets her die), the destruction of Bond's classic Aston Martin), but most of them contribute to the greater issue that the movie (to some) feels like it's going out of its way to mock and belittle old-school Bond and his fans; in fact, one of the themes of the movie is that Bond himself is an outdated, useless concept... which, sure, could be an interesting idea, but probably less so to people who just paid money to watch a James Bond movie. The other half of the broken base argues that the movie, rather than mocking classic Bond tropes, actually defends them - first stating the case against them, but then tearing it down, ultimately concluding that Bond will always be needed. M's stellar defense of the 00 Section is one of the iconic scenes of the movie, but there's a more subtle cue in the paintings — after Q likens Bond to a once-grand warship now useful only as scrap, pay attention to the paintings in the new M's offices at the end of the movie. They're of warships in their prime — Q was wrong in his assessment of Bond.
  • Designated Hero:
    • James Bond stands by and patiently waits while Patrice kills a politician, puts some incredibly creepy moves on Severine and fails to thwart Silva's plan at any step. Except the part of killing Silva as he attempted an Taking You with Me with M. Though M was already injured enough that she dies afterwards, and had stated she preferred for Silva to rot in prison. The only thing that it can be said he accomplished is that he survived.
    • M. Too often, she harms the lives of herself and her agents for unnecessary risks rather than trust them to sort the problem out. In the pre-song scene, she orders Eve to shoot, risking Bond's life in the process, even though Bond still has a chance to defeat Patrice. Later, when she is warned of Silva's escape, instead of doing the prudent thing by aborting her hearing, she proceeds with it, like she wants to stand strong, in effect endangering a bunch of top notch Members of Parliament and government officials and God knows how many civilians for her personal pride; if she'd aborted her hearing, all those cops and guards, and other bystanders wouldn't have been shot.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
  • Estrogen Brigade: Aside from Bond, Q also attracted a crop of fangirls after being revamped as a young Adorkable Hollywood Nerd.
  • Fanon: Silva was a high-ranking field agent, possibly even a 00. Most fans are stunned when you point out that none of this is explicitly mentioned in the film. They take his "Not So Different" Remark speech very literally. But aside from firing a gun a few times and lobbing a couple of grenades, nothing he does in the film suggests the sort of rough-and-tumble, life-on-the-line sort of career as Bond.
  • Foe Yay: Silva's introduction was absolutely loaded with homoeroticism.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • Right before Bond meets Silva, he's taken to an open-air room with unprotected computer servers in the middle of a dusty, deserted city. Such an environment would make the computers degrade quickly, essentially making the system self-destructing when Silva no longer needs it. Knowing this ahead of time, one soon realizes that Silva's planning to get captured shortly after this encounter.
    • In computer security circles, Mallory is often used as a shorthand for a hypothetical adversary. It adds credence to Mallory being a potential bad guy in the movie, although this ultimately turns out to be a Red Herring, and Mallory proves to be a good guy.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • After the explosion at MI-6, the news reports "a terrorist attack in the heart of London, leaving 6 dead and many more injured". In March 2017, a terrorist attack in Westminster (just two bridges further) also claimed the lives of 6 (including the perpetrator) and left many more injured.
    • Three scenes become even harsher by No Time to Die:
      • The beginning of the movie has Bond accidentally being sniped by Eve, being presumed dead afterwards. When he dies two movies later, part of it is due to the main villain shooting him three times.
      • Bond answered to Silva's "What's your [hobby]?" question with "Resurrection". He does not survive his mission to stop Safin.
      • As Skyfall Lodge blows up, Bond has to outrun an incoming wall of fire inside a hidden tunnel. He jumps at a left turn, barely avoiding being singed by the flames. His real death involves his entire body being incinerated by a barrage of tomahawk missiles, which he chose to not escape due to being infected with a virus that could have killed his girlfriend and daughter.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Word of God said that Silva was inspired in part by Hans Landa from Inglourious Basterds. Christoph Waltz, who played Landa, was later cast as Franz Oberhauser aka Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the Big Bad of the next film, Spectre.
  • It Was His Sled: M dies.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Silva by the later parts of the film. Most notably towards the end when he cries over M being mortally wounded.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Bond "dying" during the opening sequence. The "reveal" that he survived is treated with an offhand casualness that shows the filmmakers were well aware it wouldn't hold any tension. Subverted with M's death in the end.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Tiago Rodriguez was once M's finest agent, whom she betrayed to the Chinese where he was tortured to the point of attempting a bungled suicide which left him hideously disfigured. Escaping as "Raoul Silva", he joined SPECTRE under his new name and became a cyber-terrorist who plays the entirety of MI-6 perfectly. Using a series of terrorist attacks to lure out Bond, Silva proceeds to play mind games with him from their meetings, and allows his own capture so his encrypted laptop allows his men access to MI-6's systems. Escaping MI-6's custody, Silva hunts down M with the intention of achieving a mutual suicide with her, to end his pain with hers and secure his revenge against the woman he sees as a mother who betrayed him. One of Bond's most effective and brilliant adversaries, Silva even dies achieving almost everything he sets out to do, with M following him to death moments later.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Silva crosses it before we even know who he is with his bombing of MI-6.
  • Narm: Silva's gasps at the end of the film after Bond throws a knife into his back come off as more of a joke leading into a snide comment, but are meant to be taken seriously.
  • Shipping: Kincade and M are friendly to each other when they meet, they both have the Parental Substitute thing going on, and their actors are around the same age. Granted, any possibility of anything going forward is destroyed by the fact that M is six feet under.
  • Signature Scene:
    • The fight between Bond and the sniper in the room of the skyscraper.
    • Silva's first on-screen scene, which is him making a speech about rats being pitted against one another.
    • Silva revealing his melted jawline to M while imprisoned.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • The shot of Bond going over the waterfall would be a lot better if it hadn't been so obvious that it was a dummy.
    • Bond staring at the (obviously CG) Komodo dragons in the midst of a fight makes one think he also found them to be absurdly out of proportion.
    • Likewise, the scorpion in the bar scene toward the beginning is poorly composited against Bond's hand.
  • Spoiled by the Format: You don't hire Ralph Fiennes, give him second billing, and have him play just an Obstructive Bureaucrat.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: The movie was significantly better received than Quantum of Solace. Some reviewers have gone so far as to rank Skyfall among the best of the Bond films.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Some fans were unhappy about Sam Mendes' longtime collaborator Thomas Newman serving as the film's composer instead of regular Bond series composer David Arnold. This mostly went away once the film was released though.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Séverine is presented as a prostitute who has been trapped in the trade since she was a child and Bond rescues her and even develops a slight relationship with her. Sadly she gets killed off the following morning, and in the second act no less. As such we never got to see their relationship and her character as a whole fully developed.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Specific mention is made of Mallory being a captive of the IRA for three months, but nobody ever draws attention to how he still serves England and Silva became a Fallen Hero under similar conditions. It's more likely that the comparison was supposed to be between Silva and Bond. Both were sacrificed by M for the sake of a mission. Yet Bond, despite his anger, came back and fought for her (and with her), whereas the embittered Silva plotted her downfall.
  • Tough Act to Follow:
    • Spectre didn't live up to the great reception of Skyfall. No Time to Die raised the bar again but it doesn't seem like it reached Skyfall's heights.
    • Adele's Title Theme Tune is already touted as arguably the best Bond theme song of the entire Craig-era 007 Movies, if not the whole James Bond franchise, especially after netting its first major Academy Award alongside with a corresponding Grammy Award. It is fair to say that Sam Smith's "Writings on the Wall" and Billie Eilish's "No Time to Die" have had some very large shoes to fill. That being said, both garnered awards.
  • Uncanny Valley: Silva's smile seems a little... off... until we learn he tried to poison himself with cyanide... leaving half of his upper jawline melted.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Silva bringing down the Underground train? They actually dropped a train for real.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • Q hooking up Silva's laptop to MI6's network. Silva is a known talented hacker, and if Q was really as smart as he claimed, he would've at least isolated the laptop in a virtual sandbox and prevented it from accessing other nodes at the network. If he really wanted to do it right, he could've kept it isolated on a hardware level too, bringing in tools as he needed them.
    • Patrice's assassination in Shanghai goes off without a hitch because Bond spends several minutes simply watching him assemble his rifle, cut through glass, and line up a shot. The fight would have been far easier had he attacked a minute or two earlier when Patrice was still assembling his gun.
    • When M is informed that Silva has escaped and is told to seek shelter during her hearing, she refuses to "show her back" and instead continues to defend herself to the ministers for an extended period, resulting in numerous deaths when Silva inevitably bursts in and begins shooting.
  • Win Back the Crowd: The film earned overwhelmingly positive reviews from after the extremely mixed reception of Quantum of Solace. It also became the highest grossing James Bond film ever, grossing $1.11 billion, ranking as the 8th highest grossing film of all time, which includes $304.4 million in the United States alone. It is also the highest grossing film of all time in the United Kingdom, earning $161.2 million there.
  • The Woobie: Severine, so very much. For starters, it's implied that she's been a Sex Slave for most of her life, and has been getting abused for who knows how many years by this point. Then, she finally finds someone like Bond, who can potentially set her free from this life, but shortly after taking him to Silva as requested, she ultimately gets unceremoniously shot in the head by Silva himself, and Bond is, by now, too desensitized to death to even mourn her. The more one thinks about it, the more of a downer it really is. Worse, Silva planned on getting captured. For that he needed Bond brought to him, meaning Severine actually did what her sadistic boss wanted. And still, he shoots her.


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