We recently covered James Bond mania in honor of the character’s 50th anniversary, and now we’ve had the chance to catch 007’s latest film, Skyfall, before it hits American theaters this Friday. It’s no stretch to say this is one of the best Bonds ever—unless you prefer Moonraker zaniness to something a bit more serious. Here are four reasons why you should check it out:
1. The villain: Javier Bardem plays an evildoer in the classic Bond vein—ingenious, verging on cartoonish and downright diabolical—but the character’s definitely updated for the 21st century: He’s a sort of deranged Julian Assange blended with the Joker. Which makes sense, as director Sam Mendes says he took inspiration from The Dark Knight.
2. M: Sure, Skyfall is a 007 flick through and through, but it really belongs to Judi Dench’s beloved take on the woman who holds Bond’s leash. There are huge, franchise-changing moments for the character here that you won’t want to miss.
3. You’ll see something new: Simply put, this is a very good-looking film packed with gorgeous settings. That most of them get blown up only adds to the spectacle.
4. Daniel Craig’s still got it: To be sure, he’s a very different Bond than we’ve seen before—not as slick as Sean Connery, more rugged than Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan (not to mention George Lazenby)—but Craig takes the character to compelling new places. He has to handle darker, more emotional material, and he excels at it.
Honestly, I could go on, but maybe you’re better off seeing Skyfall for yourself. Let us know what you think in the comments.