Jeff Labrecque
July 31, 2012 at 08:42 PM EDT

From the director of American Beauty and Revolutionary Road… James Bond in… Skyfall!!

Sam Mendes may have been an unorthodox choice to direct the 23rd official James Bond film — and the first in four years — but the new trailer demonstrates a great appreciation for 007’s cinematic canon and the evolving action genre in the (just) post-Bourne, post-Dark Knight era. There are nods to WikiLeaks, echoes of London’s 7/7 subway explosions, and a thick cloud of suspicion about even the most trusted institutions. The house has crumbled and Bond needs to become a new man to rebuild it.

Below are a few moments from the new trailer that made me grin, happy that Bond’s Olympic helicopter leap with the Queen won’t be the year’s most awesome 007 event.

We find Bond atop a speeding train, wrestling with a bad guy. Is it the guy with the stolen computer drive that holds all the identities of all the undercover MI6 agents? Whatever it is, M (Judi Dench) is not fooling around. “You both know what’s at stake here,” she says to a gorgeous sniper (Naomie Harris). “Take the bloody shot.” She does — and Bond is hit and presumed killed. Was she aiming for him? Did she misfire?

“What do you say about a man like that,” M sniffs dismissively, as she types up Bond’s obituary. First off, really? M has to type up agents’ obits? That might be the strongest commentary yet on Britain’s austerity measures.

M is feeling the heat from without and within. Not only have many of her agents been compromised and presumably killed by terrorist organizations, but a new MI6 is taking shape right in front of her, led by Ralph Fiennes. For the first of many Dark Knight Rises thematic parallels, M is Commissioner Gordon and Fiennes’ character could be Matthew Modine’s deputy police commissioner.

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