The oft-asked question of who is the best James Bond seems somewhat irrelevant in Skyfall, the latest of the series. Instead, we should be discussing the best Bond villain, because Javier Bardem has a very strong case.
Without ruining the plot, Bardem seems human, bitter, angry and complicated in ways that other bond villains have not. Goldfinger was a greedy, rich bloater; Blofeld was a bloviating sociopath; while Elliot Carver from Tomorrow Never Dies was a megalomaniac media mogul (aren’t they all?).
Yet with Bardem's character, you can – and will – feel some sympathy, despite his creepy, sleazy personality. Bond clearly does too, albeit with a healthy side order of loathing, and it makes the movie so much more than a macho slug-fest (although thankfully there’s still plenty of that).
Of course, Daniel Craig’s Bond is excellent: a muscle-bound hitman with a good sense of humour. Now there's a personal ad, if ever there was one. And Judi Dench is solid as M, a wise old owl with a ruthless streak.
New faces are Ralph Fiennes as a meddling civil servant helping the Intelligence and Security Committee regulate the spooks, and Naomi Harris as a second-rate field agent. Civil servants may be particularly pleased to note that there’s a wonderful scene skewering the pomposity of select committee hearings. Everyone should be particularly pleased that an Aston Martin makes an appearance.
If you're a James Bond fan, you’re probably planning to see this film. Very sensible. And if you’re not, you’ll still find it an entertaining, well-put-together romp. That just leaves the best Bond question: obviously, early Roger Moore. What?