Skyfall is one of the great James Bond films, a movie worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, On Her Majesty's Secret Service and Casino Royale. Deftly blending the best of the old films and the new, it manages to feel like a natural successor to classic 007 adventures while bravely moving forward into territory completely new to the series (and when you're 23 films deep, that's quite a challenge!).
With that said, Skyfall has left us with a few unanswered questions. This article deals with specific plot details seen in the film, so if you haven't seen it and don't want to be spoiled, you'd better turn around right now.
How did Bond survive the shot and fall, and how did he find the money to live in the tropics without MI6 knowing?
The first part of that question can be easily answered: he survived being shot and falling off a moving train because he's James Bond and James Bond doesn't die easily (even when's he's the more fragile Daniel Craig model). The second half of that question is where you're allowed to raise an eyebrow and wonder. M herself later tells Bond that MI6 took control of his assets following his apparent death, so how could Bond afford to escape and live a life of beachside drinking and canoodling? We later learn that Bond comes from a seemingly wealthy Scottish family, so it's entirely possible that he had some money hidden away somewhere. That still doesn't explain how he could evade his employers when they're capable of tracking anyone and anything, but we'll chalk this one up to suspension of disbelief.
Why did Silva wait so long to enact his grand revenge scheme? Why now?
The moment you start to think too hard about Silva's grand plan, it starts to fall apart. There are simply too many unwieldy pieces and too many required coincidences for his revenge scheme against M to actually feel remotely plausible. However, much like the Joker's convoluted plans in The Dark Knight (which was the obvious inspiration for Silva), these questions don't truly arise until after the film is over, since you're too caught up in the moment to question what you're seeing.
Yet, one question reigns supreme over all of the others: Why did Silva wait so long to strike against M? He's had enough money and enough power for enough time to steal an entire island and build an advanced network of neverending assassins and thugs, so why did he wait so long? If his life goal is to get revenge, why didn't he put all of his island-stealing efforts toward an initial revenge scheme? If he hadn't waited 15 years and struck early, Bond wouldn't have been around to stop him!
And speaking of Silva, why is his villainous data center the worst data center in the world?
Here's a question for Sam Mendes and the producers of Skyfall: Have you ever seen a computer? While Silva's island headquarters is the best lair for a Bond villain since Blofeld carved out a volcano in You Only Live Twice, anyone with a basic knowledge of computers will question the Big Bad's apparent genius with one look at his data center, which is just a stack of motherboards with electricity running to them. In other words, Silva's hacking HQ can't run an office, let alone a computer-hacking network. In all fairness, this was probably a design decision and everyone involved decided a cool looking room was more important than a realistic room, but it's the kind of choice that sticks out like a sore thumb to people who will recognize it.
Why would Q listen to Bond at all on the subject of computer hacking?
The new Q (Younger! Bolder! Hipster-er!) is nothing short of a genius. We know this because the film tells us so. He can destablize the world from his computer, he's invented all kinds of encryption software and he can plant "bread crumbs" so small that only Silva will notice them and fall into Bond's trap during the climax. So why would he even consider taking any kind of hacking advice from Bond, who wouldn't know computer code from a hole in the ground? Q knows that Silva is a computer genius and knows that his personal computer has all kind of failsafes, so why would he listen to Bond when he points out a word hidden in the code, a word so poorly hidden that it's obviously meant to be found? Sure, he didn't know that it was part of a grander plan, but you'd expect the world's foremost computer expert to use a little more caution. Q may be smart, but he sure is dumb.
If the series was rebooted with Casino Royale, why does Bond have the Aston Martin from Goldfinger?
This question wouldn't have mattered a decade ago, when Bond continuity was loose at best. However, the Craig era has taken great pains to allow Bond to grow from film to film, even letting Quantum of Solace be a direct sequel to Casino Royale. And that brings us to the gadget-equipped Aston Martin, identical to the car seen in Goldfinger, that Bond has in storage. Craig's films have treated Bond as a new character, with none of the previous films acting as any kind of backstory, so where did he get this car? Was there a time between Quantum of Solace and Skyfall that saw Q Branch building wacky, '60s inspired gadgets? Is the Thunderball jetpack also in the same storage unit? Another theory is that this car is a relic, left over from a past age and rescued by Bond. The best theory is that it's a cute, fan-pleasing moment that doesn't make literal sense but who cares?
Who the hell keeps Komodo dragons in a casino?!
One answer: Macau casino's Komodo dragon habitat is simply a homage to past Bond villains who utilize deadly wildlife as protection, like Stromberg's shark tank in The Spy Who Loved Me, and should be treated as such (and while we're here, Bond's escape by leaping off one of the lizards is a definite homage to Bond's run across the backs of crocodiles in Live and Let Die). Another answer: crazy people with too much money and a distate for public safety.
Was Kincaid originally intended to be a cameo for an old Bond actor?
When Skyfall shifts to Scotland for the final act, we meet Kincaid, the elderly gameskeeper at the Bond family estate. However, his introduction is an interesting one. We see his gun and body before we see his face, and the reveal that he's played by the great Albert Finney is treated as a surprise. However, all of that buildup makes it feel like the part was created to be a surprise cameo. An appearance by a former Bond actor, perhaps? Unlike most of the questions here, this one looks to have an answer: it seems that the role was originally written to be a cameo for Sean Connery, but it was (wisely) nixed because Mendes thought it would prove too distracting.
The final scenes bring Bond back to his pre-reboot position. What is the status quo from here on out?
The closing moments of Skyfall are a direct and deliberate homage to the opening scenes of many films in the series. Bond walks into the office (past the coat rack, of course), flirts with Miss Moneypenny and walks through that padded leather door to meet with M, who gives him a file containing the details of his next mission. Along with the reintroduction of Q, these scenes raise an interesting question about the state of the Bond franchise: Where is it going from here?
Bond's bench of familiar allies has been rebuilt and 007 himself appears to finally be as committed to the cause as Connery and Roger Moore were during their runs as the character. These closing scenes could suggest that Craig's Bond is ready to leave his experimental, character-driven phase and is going to return to the regular Bond template that has driven the series for five decades... or it could just be a fun way of ackowledging the past while continuing down the boldest path this series has ever taken. Sadly, we won't know the answer to this question until the next Bond film hits theaters. That can't happen soon enough.