The first reviews for 'Skyfall' are overwhelmingly positive. MI6 rounds up a non-spoiler summary...

Early UK Press Reviews

12th October 2012

Sony, MGM and EON Productions hosted the first media screening of the new James Bond film on Friday 12th October 2012. All of the British press and media seemed to be attending the 1,600 seat screening along with MI6. All of the press excerpts below have been selected to avoid plot spoilers.

The Independent
Mendes has gone back to basics: chases, stunts, fights. At the same time, he has subtly re-invented the franchise, throwing in far greater depth of characterization than we’re accustomed to in a series of films that are often proudly superficial.... Craig again impresses as Bond. He switches without fuss from Roger Moore-style self-deprecating comedy (adjusting his cuff links in action sequences) to the darker, more intense scenes which focus on Bond’s childhood traumas.

The Express
Craig is on cracking form as Bond, all rippling muscles and curling lip and Dame Judi Dench puts in an elegantly melancholy performance as M. Apparently director Sam Mendes lobbied hard to get Javier Bardem on board as the villain and he does do rather a nice line in chilling psychopathic monsters. Is he good here? The answer is a qualified yes. He is not a villain in pursuit of world domination like Ernst Blofeld, and he is slightly upstaged by his own hair but he never fails to surprise.That he can make us laugh at the same time only makes him more menacing.

Time Out
Mendes knows there’s a risk of appearing po-faced by omitting the traditional pleasures of a Bond movie, and his approach seems calculated to stick to the formula while moving things forward... It's only in the second half of the film, which takes place entirely in the UK, that you get the feeling that Mendes has dealt the compulsory 007 cards that any Bond director has to play. Now he’s properly able to get stuck into a more punchy, more unified mix of action, emotion and story that climaxes in a fittingly isolated and lonely final showdown between Bond and his latest nemesis.

The Guardian
Skyfall is a hugely enjoyable action spectacular, but more grounded and cogent than the previous and disappointing outing, Quantum of Solace. It finds the right position on the spectrum between extravagance and realism: what I think of as the imaginary line running from Bond's invisible car in Die Another Day and Peter Guillam's Citroën DS in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy... From the opening in Istanbul to the final siege shootout in the Scottish Highlands, this film is a supremely enjoyable and even sentimental spectacle, giving us an attractively human (though never humane) Bond. Despite the title, he is a hero who just keeps on defying gravity.

The Times
is a great British bulldog of a movie. From the moment the orchestral sound of Adele belts out, sending a nostalgic shiver down the audience’s collective spine, we know this will be a triumphant return to classic Bond. Sam Mendes, the director, deftly balances fanboy worship of 007 tradition with sophisticated film-making, and (apart from early Connery), nobody does it better than Daniel Craig.

Daily Mail
Mendes has done a marvelous job and Craig is superb -- looking super cool in a Tom Ford suit-- as a Bond who's still looking suave after 50 years giving pleasure to all. Great actress that she is the dynamic Dame still knows how to raise a laugh or two even though M's in a thundering mood .Two new operatives, played by Naomie Harris and Ben Wishaw, help 007 tool up to get after the bad guys and I have to tell you that Bardem turns Silva into one helluva Mr. Bad-ass.

The Telegraph
When is a Bond film not a Bond film? It’s a question likely to prey on the minds of the very many cinema goers who will see this 23rd official 007 adventure. Skyfall shakes together familiar elements of the Ian Fleming canon – the cars, the guns, the exotic locales with the dames to match – into a blistering comic book escapade that the old Bond, and one suspects Fleming too, would find altogether alien.

The Sun
British director Sam Mendes knows what has made Britain great since the first Bond film came out in 1962 and that is being cool. This film is stylish, witty and a class above the competition. It’s also irreverent about its past. Daniel Craig again proves himself to be a great Bond. Like a certain beer, which I won’t identify because its an expensive piece of product placement to have James drinking it in Skyfall, Bond refreshes the parts other spy movies can’t reach.

London Evening Standard
This is, you might say, the Diamond Jubilee Bond. You might have thought it would be hard to surpass Bond’s role stepping out with the Queen at the Olympics? Well, Skyfall runs it close.

Daily Mirror
The man with the golden hair - aka Daniel Craig - returns for what might just be the best James Bond film ever. Enthralling, explosive and often very funny, Skyfall doesn't just exceed expectations but shatters them like a bullet to the head. While Skyfall looks and feels like a Bond film - the exotic locales, the memorable villain and an appearance from that iconic silver Aston Martin - director Sam Mendes hasn't been afraid to play with the formula.

Radio Times
The ever-impressive Daniel Craig is certainly put through the wringer in his third appearance as 007, in a story that boldly delves into his past to offer a tantalising glimpse at what makes him tick and where his loyalties lie. Overall, the one word that really describes Skyfall is class. Mendes may have taken the series somewhere new by giving the drama a heightened intensity, but he’s only been able to do that successfully by embracing the franchise’s past. Mendes’s film certainly stands out, and there’s a sense that things may be slightly different from now on. This is no reboot, more a recalibration of the format, or perhaps even, as Bond himself deftly puts it, “a resurrection”.

Putting the "intelligence" in MI6, "Skyfall" reps a smart, savvy and incredibly satisfying addition to the 007 oeuvre, one that places Judi Dench's M at the center of the action. It's taken 23 films and 50 years to get Bond's backstory, but the wait was worth it. In Sam Mendes' hands, the franchise comes full circle, revealing the three-film Daniel Craig cycle to be both prelude and coda to the entire series via a foxy chess move that puts these pics on par with Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy as best-case exemplars of what cinematic brands can achieve, resulting in a recipe for nothing short of world domination.

Hollywood Reporter
The most significant reset of the 23-film series that's unconnected to a change of the actor playing 007, this long-awaited third outing for Daniel Craig feels more seriously connected to real-world concerns than any previous entry, despite the usual outlandish action scenes, glittering settings and larger-than-life characters. Dramatically gripping while still brandishing a droll undercurrent of humor, this beautifully made film will certainly be embraced as one of the best Bonds by loyal fans worldwide and leaves you wanting the next one to turn up sooner than four years from now.