I'm very aware of all the criticism on "Skyfall". On the various topics that are being created in here. Discussing the lack of real on-location filming. Or the (over)-use of CGI. Not to mention the various plot holes of the film, the illogical build-ups towards the actions of the villain. Or what about "Skyfall" being a mere "copy" of Nolan's Batman-trilogy (Sam Mendes said it himself).
Very simply really. "Skyfall" is a perfect example of a movie that set its own rules. And the film got away with it in such style that people simply bought it. "Ate" it, with no hesitation. They devoured the movie, because, regardless of its flaws, the impact on average simply was too big. One can say that this in part is my personal impression. And there perhaps are many reviews of people or opinions of your friends that prove otherwise. But I think on average those can't be as much as, let's say, with "Quantum Of Solace", "Die Another Day" and even other Brosnan-films. For me there are simply too many other facts and aspects that override these flaws with such grand and joyous style, that I think this is a quality of the film in itself. And thát's actually one of the biggest reasons for its insane success.
Please let me elaborate with arguments:
--> Screenplay writing is a pivotal part of every movie. It's the seed for a good movie really. It has to have a near-perfect concoction of characterization (multi-layered characters), story (a trail of narrative breadcrumbs that tie all scenes together), tense dialogue (the actual words that will be spoken out) and a logical plot (one that can be explained, makes sense and that is believable). Having said this, there is no black-and-white approach to screen play writing. And in the end it's about the most effective concoction on average, not just about one single technical aspect about the writing (while plot can be illogical, it sometimes can be counter-acted so effectively by the characters that you don't notice it). And most importantly, it's about the total picture, the complete impact of the finished product.
--> A director makes the choices. Simply spoken, and absolutely true. But in essence it does mean what the focus point of the movie will be. Will it become a movie with a heavy focus on fully explained plot, and all its complexities, leaving out some more human aspects (take for example a movie like Nolan's "Memento")? Or will it have more focus on human drama and characterization, leaving certain plot explanations open for debate in a later stage? A movie that focuses on the "why", the motivation on the actions, instead of the exact "how"?
--> The impact of the characters as means of adding realism. Now I think director Sam Mendes really focused on this aspect of the screenplay, rather then trying to build up a very logical and fully explained plot as a means to add realism. Did this choice work? Well, looking at the impact of the film.....absolutely. Take for example Raoul Silva and his villainous scheme that he used as a vehicle for both revenge and destruction. Would his entrance, and its subsequent impact, still be as big if we saw him or a few of his henchmen "building the stones" or "planting the seeds" towards that destruction? Would the impact of Silva's entrance not be considerably softened if we saw him already right after the main title sequence? And what about the big terrorist attack on the MI-6 building? The latter scene would have lacked impact, a big surprise element ánd drama if we did see some of Silva's henchmen planning the attack.
--> The actual background history of the characters as a vehicle for the motivations. We like to see everything fully explained within the movie, within the "strict fence" of those 143 minutes. But adding personal background history to the character, that doesn't actually happen during the film, can add relevance and realism to the film as well. Who doesn't believe Silva's complete rage and anger? Who doesn't feel the struggle inside M's mind when she sees her "power" and control being destroyed so effectively, but without too much logical explanation, by Raoul Silva?
--> The impact of certain scenes. Fully explaining everything doesn't necessarily mean that it adds to a good film. Explanation doesn't necessarily translate into a multi-layered theme. Why was the porselain bulldog added? Perhaps we know the exact and final narrative explanation later in "SPECTRE". But at least in "Skyfall" the bulldog was as much as an allegory as compared to the frogs in "Magnolia" or the plastic bag in "American Beauty". Not only these scenes, but also the hack pop-ups on M's computers and Q's laptop at least render a "WTF"-moment with the viewers without actually fully explaining everything. One can dislike this approach, but that is then also a matter of opinion.
--> And the action. No matter what one says about the logic of the story, action can be interpreted in many ways. We tend to interpret it as "Bond style action". By that standard the aggressive shoot-out in the committee room was perhaps slightly less Bond-ian. But it was the first one of its kind that was at least original within the franchise, felt fresh, had dramatic impact and was part of the (political) narrative and the motivation of Silva. No matter how they were executed, they mostly weren't included as a piece of standard Bond-esque copy-paste work.
Do the above arguments suddenly make "Skyfall" a better movie? Off course not. That's certainly not my intention. But I do like to link the above cinematic choices partially to the success and its insane world wide box office gross. They could have at least facilitated the success of the film.
Furthermore, there are countless definitions and explanations to that black-and-white question we always ask ourselves: "Was it a very good movie?" For some Bond fans, "Skyfall" must have been a disappointment, because it didn't fulfill his or her template of the so called "good movie". It perhaps lacked action, or lacked logic in its plot. Other Bond fans loved the movie, because they were stunned by the memorable moments in the film, the drama, the characters and the visuals. Perhaps the elements of "Skyfall" had such a huge impact that it hid the flaws (CGI? Anyone?) in such a way, that it could also be seen as a quality of the film.
But what counts even more here is the overall impact of the film. The finished product, the final film, most likely was a very unique kind of Bond film in the franchise. The definition of what is a "good film" or a "bad film" has also been shaken up entirely by "Skyfall". It's not a film that presents straight-in-your-face answers and explanations. And it's not a film that injects you with the perfect concoction of Bond-elements or even standard film elements.
Perhaps that is a reason why many people actually like the film so much. And perhaps that's the reason why criticism outside the forum, as compared to many other Bond films in the franchise, still feels rather tame. Because on a Bond-forum some people judge a film subconsciously and unintentioally way more often along "the measuring rod of Bond elements". And perhaps the impact of the film also partially explains why negative reviews around the internet are scarce in amount as opposed to positive reviews. We can only say that €1.1 Billion Dollars have been spent worldwide by people who wanted to see the film, and who wanted to re-watch it....and re-watch it. Like me and many others.