Last year saw James Bond make his twenty-third official big screen outing.  Skyfall was also the third to star the current Bond, Daniel Craig; although he won the hearts of critics in 2006's Casino Royale, its follow-up Quantum of Solace was generally received as a disappointment.  Skyfall, then, had the potential to either return the series to form or cement Craig as a one-hit wonder.  Would Skyfall be his last Bond film?

Fortunately, for both Craig and for fans of Ian Fleming's immortal spy hero around the world, Skyfall was a resounding success.  Taking a few leaves from the book of Christopher Nolan's recent Batman trilogy the film manages to blend what we love about the character with a new sense of depth, without muddying the concept or becoming pretentious.  Most importantly, perhaps, the film casts its eye over the entire history of the spy genre as championed by Fleming, identifying which conventions should be celebrated and which should be treated with a more critical eye in the twenty-first century.

The main area in which Skyfall perhaps falters lies in its attempt to provide Bond with a psychological history.  There was little or none of this in either the Fleming novels or the earlier films, but the latest film portrays 007 as being motivated by the death of his parents during his childhood.  Here, the filmmakers again appear to be drawing on the field of superhero films, few of which are complete without the tragic element in the backstory of the hero.

Some would say that this development adds depth to the character, while others would say that the whole point of Bond is that he lacks depth: he is ultimately a bureaucrat, loyally following orders no matter how much personal danger he ends up in or how many ethical standards shared by most ordinary people will be compromised.  It remains to be seen whether this new interpretation of Bond will stick, or whether he will find his true home on a psychiatrist's couch rather than battling dastardly villains in the cinema.

Skyfall was greeted with rave reviews during its big screen run, and with its upcoming release on DVD and Blu-Ray anybody who missed their chance to see it first time round will be able to catch up.  An audience which prefers to watch the latest DVDs right at home will soon be casting its eye over the new Bond, debating his merits and flaws on the Internet and perhaps influencing the direction of the series - not to mention Craig's portrayal of 007 - in the future.