Establishing shot of London at night, I know it’s London as I can see the London Eye, the river Thames with its iconic bridges, and especially because I can see Westminster complete with Big Ben, also because once again “London” is plastered across the bottom of the screen!
Cut to a door with a brass plaque that reads “Hildebrand, Prints and Rarities”, wow I guess someone at EON did crack a Fleming work at some point, or at least searched Wikipedia for a list of Fleming’s short stories. Enter M and the rest of the IMF team: Q and Tanner. Q says “I’ve never even heard of Hildebrand” (Yeah neither had the command staff at EON, till some researcher told them), M replies, “That’s the general idea with safe houses”, now that they have set the scene. They go through several rooms, then up to the roof where Craig and Swann are waiting. Craig recaps the story so far to M, also stating the head of SPECTRE, Ernst Stavro Blofeld is dead. So you’re honoring this mad man’s last wishes and referring to him by his new name? You knew this man for years as Oberhauser, you referred to him as Oberhauser to everyone at MI6 to whom you spoke about him, no one had ever head of Blofeld, YOU never heard of Blofeld till you “killed” him, but now you’re changing it up? Anyway, Craig and M make plans to have a “quiet word” with C while Q hacks the Nine Eyes system then make their way to the street.
On the street Swann says “James, I can’t”, Craig confused asks, “You can’t… stay here?” She replies, “No, I can’t go back to this life, and I can’t ask you to change” Ugh, this again! You two just professed your undying love for one another in the last scene and now this is a problem again?! How bout we discuss this tomorrow after we’ve saved freedom and had a good night’s sleep? No! We must apparently settle this now! She walks off, Craig gets in the car with M and they drive off. Craig broods in the passenger seat next to M, while Q starts a countdown timer in the following car, showing just over 30 minutes until Nine Eyes goes online, and then I guess can’t be dismantled?
M and Craig in the lead car make their way down a tunnel where surprise they’re ambushed! I won’t bother asking how anyone knew where they were, where they were going, or how they were going to get there, since Mendes didn’t bother answering. Craig and M are knocked unconscious in the impact; two thugs grab Craig and place a bag over his head, which unintentionally makes Craig look his best in years! While the two thugs place an unconscious, non-struggling Craig in the back of a black armored car the other three Neolithicly incompetent goons stand around with their backs turned, allowing M to disappear like Houdini! Tanner, Q, and Moneypenny turn the corner to the entrance of the tunnel a good two minutes after M and Craig, despite being directly behind them a moment before. The goons spot them and open fire striking the front of their vehicle including the front glass, I know this because they included special effects illustrating this, no damage is done so I assume they are driving an armored SUV, but as they run away, they turn exposing the side of the car, where a bullet shatters Q’s passenger window, I guess that one wasn’t armored!
Cut to M, a block away skulking off, cell phone in hand, I assume calling the three amigos. Cut to the black armored car which Craig was thrown in to, now on the road. Cut to interior of truck where Craig’s hands are zip tied. Back to M who climbs some stairs to street level and meets back up with the team. M enters through the same vehicle door which had the window shot out, and when I say shot out I mean shattered, but it is now intact with a simple bullet hole in the corner!
Back to Craig’s ride which has reached its destination. One man opens the rear door; the two men who rode with Craig manhandle him out of the truck and on to the street, where despite having a bag on his head and hands tied, dispatches the two men with his bare hands. The third man’s whereabouts? Does it matter; he’s gone, because we said so! Craig breaks the ties with incredible ease (between M’s disappearing act and this scene, one must assume the writers just came back from a magic show right before penning this sequence), he removes the hood to find, wait for it… he’s standing in front of old MI6 headquarters! (Old, or because these are prequels, would it be new? I can’t keep it straight anymore!) Craig goes inside.
The place is torn up; remember it’s slated for demolition! Despite the fact the explosion in the last film only destroyed M’s office. He looks up to see a large hole all the way through the floors to the night sky! At the bottom of this hole a net, for some ungodly reason. Further in he finds a memorial wall containing the names of agents who lost their lives in service to MI6, and here all along I thought they got anonymous stars! At the bottom scrawled in red spray paint is James Bond! Ugh, it all smacks of the Joker. By the way I guess they had time to chisel Craig’s name off once he returned from the dead, AFTER the building was bombed. An arrow points the way left.
As Craig makes his way deeper in to the labyrinth, we cut to the new center for intelligence C built. C rushes in to his office sits down and finds M seated in a darkened corner. (Casino Royal anyone?) The two share some boring dialog in which they further recount the story to this point.
Back to Craig in the bowels of old MI6, making his way past all the explosives, and down to the basement marina, where half a dozen, fully kitted out, military boats are tied up, did I mention this place is slated for demolition?
Back to the battle of the initials, where more stilted dialog goes back and forth, C justifying the ends, M vilifying the means. C finally calls M a moron and says, “That’s what M stands for, moron” as he raises a gun which was secreted in his desk. C pulls the trigger and “Click” nothing. M produces a handful of bullets and says, “Now we know what C stands for” oooh burn! “Careless.” wah-wah. Another wink to the exact same scene in CR, I’d say it’s the producers who are “careless”.
Back to Craig who is making his way through the old firing range. The lights kick on. The power is turned on? Again, I thought this place was about to be demolished? Targets turn with Craig’s face superimposed on the head, in what is eerily similar to Skyfall’s opening credits.
Back to Q who has less than 6 minutes until Nine Eyes goes live! OMG, I can’t bear it!
Back to Craig, who is now going through the shower room (?) where pictures of Le Chiffre, Silva, Mr. White, Vesper, and M have been posted. Notice I didn’t mention any characters from Quantum of Solace. Craig rounds the corner to find Bro standing down the hall, he fires, but Bro is behind bullet proof glass, the chips of which form that goofy octopus from the teaser poster. It reminds me a bit too much of the scene in The World Is Not Enough where Renaud escapes the missile silo in the bullet proof elevator. Craig approaches and states, “You’re a hard man to kill Blofeld.” So it’s officially Blofeld now is it Craig? You personally knew this man and lived with his family for the better part of 15 months (though the producers would have us imagine it was longer), you spoke to him on a first name basis at his base a moment before, remember? “Franz.” I’d think you’d call him anything but his self-appointed moniker just to piss him off!
Bro turns to reveal the Donald Pleasance “You Only Live Twice scar” on his right cheek! Guess that “alarm” in the watch wasn’t too loud, it went off right under Bro’s chair and all it did was scratch his cheek? Craig says, “Ouch, I do hope that didn’t hurt.” So you’re taking pleasure in his pain, but again I point out, you’re using the name he wants to be called! Bro replies, “My wounds will heal, how about yours? Look around you, your world is in ruins.” Wow deep! Craig asks, “Why are we here?” Isn’t it obvious Dan? To desecrate a once great franchise, burn down whatever semblance of legitimacy remained and urinate on the ashes! Craig further asks, “Did you miss me.” Bro lisps back, “Nooo, but I know sssssomeone who does.” as he breathes on the glass and draws a heart. What symbolism… literally! Craig asks, “Where is she?” “That’s for you to find out.” Bro retorts.
Bro sets a timer for wait for it… 3 minutes! The same 3 minutes Trevelyan gave Brosnan in Goldeneye! Long story short Craig is left with a classic impossible choice, which Bro describes as “Die trying to save her”, or “Run and live with the shame of abandoning her.” Bro giggles, “That’s brothers for you, they always know what buttons to push.” Which he says as he presses the destruct button, oh pun intended! Craig sprints off trying to find Swann.
Back to Q who’s working to crack the Nine Eyes code, over to Brofeld who’s boarding a helicopter, back to M and C who share more expositional words about “mattering” when suddenly Brofeld’s helicopter rushes past the window, startling M and giving C a chance to grab M’s gun. A struggle ensues and a window is shot out. The gun goes off again, shattering a skylight and as tiny bits of safety glass fall on them, both flinch and flail like little children who’ve been doused with cold water. M keeps the gun and C stumbles off the ledge to his doom, it’s all so tacked on, once again an example of “because we said so”.
Back to Craig who’s running through the condemned building, rigged for demolition, but oddly still has furniture strewed about, as well as… is that a vacuum cleaner I spy in the corner? Craig makes his way to Mamma M’s old office (because why not?), where he hears Swann’s muffled screams which (maybe I’m starting to read too much in to this), sound like Vesper’s same screams from off camera in the Casino Royal torture scene. He finds her in a well preserved closet humorously tied in a web of Det-cord, Craig just so happens to have a knife to cut it because the goons who kidnapped him apparently didn’t bother to search him!
With 45 seconds remaining, we know this because there are timers ridiculously placed throughout the building, Craig grabs Swann and asks, “Do you trust me?” she replies “Do I have a choice?” Craig retorts, “No” and jumps down the hole we saw earlier, down a dozen stories to the inexplicably placed net in the lobby. Which of course catches them just before it breaks, depositing them on the ground without injury! They run off camera as the timer runs out and the building explodes, collapsing to its foundations! Is this the end of our loving couple?! No! As they come racing out in one of the boats left behind in the subterranean harbor (talk about government waste!), just as the edifice crashes in to the Thames. Craig and Swann chase the copter down the river, where Craig takes pot shots with his pistol! So Craig is in a boat bobbing up and down on the waves, firing unsupported with a pistol at a helicopter which is a hundred yards above him and moving about in its own right! To make matters worse Craig runs out of ammo in the full sized pistol he was shooting and switches to his PPK! The largest caliber the PPK is chambered for is .380 caliber. Many ballistic experts doubt the .380 is much of a man stopper at close range let alone an anti-aircraft gun at distance! Let me also reiterate Craig was in captivity just a few minutes ago, now he has is arsenal back at his disposal? Eh, don’t worry about it, we said so!
Brofeld and company realizes the chopper is taking fire from the water, what do they do? Take evasive action? Fly away from the river? No silly, they continue on a straight and level track! Craig takes steely eyed aim and impossibly punctures the chopper’s engine with his pea shooter, sending the craft careening through the sky before crashing on a bridge. The pilot and Bro’s companion are dead or at least knocked cold, but Bro is just fine, he attempts to escape the smoldering wreckage by kicking the door. Sirens wail while first responders arrive, their first move? Check the wreckage for survivors? Put out the flames on the burning bridge? Move in to arrest the terrorists? No! You put up caution tape of course! M arrives and recklessly pushes past the tape. Craig pulls up simultaneously and rushes to the crash from the other end of the bridge. Bro is ingloriously crawling on his belly (Wasn’t he just kicking the copter doors a second ago?) in a preposterous attempt to escape, although if all the cops plan to do is put up caution tape, maybe he could just pull it off! M and Craig converge on the wounded man. M approaches some SWAT guys who tell him it’s a secure terrorist situation. M replies “Mallory 00 section, stand down.” and they do! No credentials, no call to confirm who this bloke is, just “Mallory 00” and it’s all good! First of all, how did the cops know this was a terrorist? All they should know at this early hour is this is a helicopter crash, second for all they know M could just be some random dude off the street, maybe even a compatriot of the suspect, but no need to check I’m sure he is who he says he is, we’ll just go back to standing around and putting up tape!
Craig approaches Bro, points his gun at him, in full view of the entire city and stares at him. Meanwhile M arrives from one side of the bridge while Swann, who was somehow allowed on the bridge arrives on the other. (I guess she met some even more incompetent SWAT guy and just said “Hey that’s my man out there” and was let through.) Bro with a smile on his face says, “Finish it.” Craig continues to stare, then finally drops the magazine from the gun and racks the round out of the chamber, and quips “Out of bullets.” Wah-wah! He glances at Swann and finishes with, “And besides I’ve got something better to do.” Yeah not to mention the pardon my French, “shit storm” that would have erupted if he just executed a man on a crowded street with scores of witnesses around! Craig ambles off toward Swann and signifies his resignation by tossing his pistol off the bridge Ala Dirty Harry. He meets up with Swann and the two embrace while Bro watches, the hate smoldering in his eye, guess where this is going in the next film! M finally decides someone needs to do some police work around here and places Bro under arrest, while the love birds shamble off together locked in each other’s arms. Fade to black, ok, finally! It’s over! Let’s get out of… Oh.
Several shots of the quiet streets of London at sunrise, then to Q’s workshop where the Quartermaster is hard at work. The elevator fires up and the familiar opening bars of the Bond theme start in, the doors open on Craig, he saunters in, Q asks, “Bond, What are you doing here?” and rightfully so as we are meant to believe he quit, right. Wasn’t it supposed to be the job or the girl? That final “dramatic” scene was supposed to cement that. Q follows up, “I’d thought you’d gone.” Craig replies “I have. There’s just one thing I need.” (So he did quit!) Cut to a hand turning the ignition on a classic car, pan back and we find Craig and Swann in the DB5, they pull off to full “Bond Theme” crescendo, aaaaaand credits.
So he quit, there’s no denying that, he admitted it himself, plus Swann seated next to him confirms it. So H.M. Government is going to give away a million pound car which by the way, has been fitted with half a dozen lethal gadgets, to an ex-employee? He has no right to that car! What the bloody hell? Also ironically or perhaps not so, the first time they actually play the Bond theme during the actual movie and not just the closing credits, is after he quits and is making his exit!
The End… Not quite the end Dirty Benny will return in “SPECTRE Introspection: Epilog”