Hello, everyone! New member, here.
One of the more fascinating aspects to being a cinephile lies in the conceit of "head-canon", which is to say, the penchant for expunging any sequels/follow-ups of a franchise that aren't agreeable to one's personal tastes. At times this is motivated by quality-control (e.g., JAWS is my favorite film, and one that must stand alone, in light of the diminishing returns of its sequels). In other instances, it's more of an issue of preserving the purity of a narrative (e.g., DIRTY HARRY is also a favorite, and one that works better as a self-contained urban thriller, in light of the moral ambiguity of the finale).
But then there's the most peculiar facet to head-canon. A dilemma, really. What happens when a film series hosts a whole string of distinct endings, yet, before it's even wrapped up, lands on one so pitch-perfect that one is hesitant to move beyond it? I've happened upon this several times, most notably in Nolan's DARK KNIGHT trilogy. For me, the story ends with the middle chapter, not so much because of the qualms I have with THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, but because I simply believe THE DARK KNIGHT has the better, more resonant ending. I love that Batman, Gordon and Dent had saved Gotham from the Joker's nihilistic terror campaign, but at tremendous personal cost to all three (banishment, deception, and corruption/death, respectively). I love that we're left to entertain the notion that civilization could be upheld by a Noble Deception. It's provocative, and astonishingly adult--far preferable to what transpires in the RISES coda.
So it goes with SKYFALL. I've sat on NTTD for nearly a month and a half, and after deliberation, decided that SF is how I prefer to leave the Craig run. It's not so much a question of weighing the merits/demerits of the two films that follow (i.e., the Swan Saga), as it is a "Quit while you're ahead" judgment. With CR, QOS, and finally SF, I think there's just enough trauma and character growth, just enough stretching and subversion of the Bond formula, to make Craig's Bond the most effective in the franchise, but no more. With SF, Bond dies, is resurrected, wages war in a hellscape apocalypse, loses his surrogate mother, shuffles off the coils of his childhood haunts, slays his shadow doppelganger (Silva) and in the final scene, is properly cemented as equal-parts tragic/heroic myth. Sublime. Just sublime. And it feels so right. Consequently, everything following SF seems an afterthought, even the superlative elements.
Does anyone else feel the same?