First, a word from our sponsor (that would be me:) The 2013 Schlock Mercenary Calendar is available for pre-order! Don't miss out. We typically only order 10% to 15% above the pre-order count. 

Moving right along... I saw the first matinee of Skyfall today, and it was quite good. 

Skyfall is perhaps the most believable of the Bond franchise films. It's dark, it's tense, it's powerful, and our hero seems more human than he has at any point since that Act III twist in Casino Royale, perhaps even longer.

This is also the most personal of the tales, to my recollection. Yes, there's a globe-spanning crisis, but the filmmakers have wisely stepped away from the (flawed) premise that you raise the stakes by putting more people at risk, and bellied right on up to the bar where actual fear is shaken, not stirred, by a bartender you've known for years, and who has been there for all your triumphs and tragedies, and oh my goodness what have you put in my drink?

Okay, that wasn't actually in the movie -- the bartender bit -- but I'm sticking with the metaphor. The threats in this film are personal, and while it feels a lot like the end of a trilogy, a la The Dark Knight Rises, everybody is far more intelligent than they were in that film.

I enjoyed the film quite a bit, but it wasn't nearly as much fun as many of the things I've seen this year. It glued me to my seat, sure enough, but it didn't have me wanting to stand up and cheer. It's beautifully shot, well-performed, and at first blush seems to be pretty tightly written, but it doesn't crack my top ten for "fun at the cinema" this year. It didn't disappoint, though. As Bond films go it exceeded my expectations. If you're into the franchise, this one is a must-see. 

You already knew that, Quantum of Solace notwithstanding.