The first review I read of the latest Bond movie, Skyfall, was implacably negative. All the rest were generally positive. So I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when we went to a jam-packed cinema this evening. An immense first positive is Javier Bardem’s portrayal of the film’s main antagonist, Raoul Silva (Tiago Rodriguez). Unlike the psycopathic baddie he played in No Country For Old Men, this time Bardem introduces a comic element into his character and it works really well (sometimes the audience found itself laughing in the midst of gruesome or sad scenes). The director, Sam Mendes, uses Bardem’s foil well to enable Daniel Craig to play Bond as an ageing and world-weary psychopath who cares nothing for his ancestral home (blown to smithereens) nor for Bardem’s defenceless lover, Severine (Silva shoots her in cold blood and Bond apparently cares only for some spilt malt whiskey). This is much closer to the character that Ian Fleming had originally created in the Bond books. Judi Dench, in her last appearance as M, appropriates Michael Caine’s ‘bloodies’ and makes them her own. After the traditional initial chase scene, the plot develops with deliberate slowness, allowing Bardem in particular to develop his character. And the Scottish scenery in which the action ends almost steals the show. Did I enjoy this? Yes. Was it a great film? No. But since when have Bond films been great? Mendes has done a good job, reintroducing the darker, original Bond and handling the transition (a new M, a new Q, an ageing Bond) to a new generation of Bond films with artful skill.