Skyfall, the 23rd and newest instalment in the James Bond series, follows Bond (Daniel Craig) on a mission to recover a hard drive that holds top-secret information about undercover agents in terrorist organizations. In a certain light, one would see in Skyfall many techniques from previous blockbusters. One is the use of smart guns, including a pistol that authorizes only one person to fire it. In Skyfall, Agent Q (Ben Whishaw) equips Bond with such a gun. This gadget was also seen in Dredd, another recent action movie; the only difference is that in Dredd, the smart gun backfires when used by another person. Another similar technique is that the villain, Silva (Javier Bardem), is locked up in seemingly impenetrable  glass cage. This device was also seen in the highly successful Marvel Comics movie The Avengers, with its villain, Loki. Skyfall seemingly pushes Bond beyond super-detective status into the superhero category, which is also further emphasized by his preoccupation with resurrection and the Mission: Impossible-like tasks he takes on. We also see references in the film to the aging Bond. This was also a theme in films like The Expendables 2 and Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol, which features action heroes (in the above cases Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom Cruise). Directors seem to like using this lately as a source of humour about how the action heroes are older and not as adventurous and physically able as they once were. In Skyfall, Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) humiliates Bond for being too old to function as a field agent anymore. At one point Bond also struggles to hold on to a rising elevator. Though this is a common trope, the aging aspect benefits the plot by contributing an obstacle played out in many hero movies: the overcoming of one’s own limits. And yes, it has constant sexual tension with the Bond girls (Naomie Harris, Berenice Marlohe), Bond dodging bullets and explosives by an inch, and the world seemingly revolving in Bond’s favor. Skyfall fulfills the expectations of a typical Bond movie. But Bond movies—and most other action movies, for that matter—seem to run better on cliché anyway. MMMM

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