This is basically the simple plot, but there is much more going on too. There is a sexy and intelligent female agent Eve (Naoimi Harris), who challenges Bond perhaps as much as Vesper Lynd once did. Besides the new Q there is also Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes), a member of Parliament who may or may not be trustworthy. He is pressuring M to retire because he feels she bungled the retrieval of the list.
Bond heads to Shanghai to confront Patrice, and then on to Macau where he meets Severine (Berenice Marlohe), who joins the vast army of beautiful but deadly girls Bond takes to bed. The next morning they are off to villain Silva’s island hideaway (a Bond staple, of course). Silva is bleached blond and dentally challenged villain played by Javier Bardem with such glee and gusto that he may be the best Bond bad guy ever, or at least right up there with Gert Frobe’s Goldfinger.
Bond and Silva’s initial confrontation includes a chair, handcuffs, and Silva getting touchy-feely with 007. The scene involves rapid fire dialogue, with Silva revealing he was a former agent and has serious issues with M abandoning him in Hong Kong. He also tries to convince Bond that M has failed him as well, making it seem as if they are brothers with mommy problems. Silva tells Bond of an experiment he did with rats that involves the rats killing one another until just two remain. Silva says that they can either work together or fight until there will be one rat standing.
From this point forward there are too many spoilers that can be revealed, so let it suffice to say that Bond eventually gets back to London and has to find a way to protect M. The tension builds as he must spirit her away from the city to a remote location for the final confrontation, and here we encounter more of Bond’s past, including an old caretaker named Kincaid (Albert Finney) who for Bond is sort of like Alfred the butler to Batman’s Bruce Wayne.
In the final act there is a great battle sequence, as good as anything we have ever seen in a Bond movie. You get all the gunfire, the explosions, and the confrontation between good and evil you will want, but there is also an epiphany for Bond that has been 23 films in the making, and it is a brilliant moment. As he stands on a London rooftop with Union Jacks fluttering in the wind, there is an affirmation for all that Bond has done in the name of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and a promise that he is far from finished.