So perhaps it’s appropriate that the first one I did see was Casino Royale, which ostensibly reboots the franchise as if the other films had never happened.
Here we see a still-raw Bond’s first kills (which earned him double-oh status), how he won his first Aston Martin car in a poker game, and how he learned not to trust anyone.
Thankfully, the film doesn’t play like an origin story or make such things cute; rather, these elements are simply part of the story at hand, and only have significance because we (or rather, longtime Bond fans) know what they mean to the character.
And further, there’s no Q, no silly double entendres, no cool gadgets, and really, very little of the conventional Bond “stuff.” So I guess it’s fair to say that Casino Royale isn’t much of a Bond movie at all.
I mean, when asked if he wants his martini shaken or stirred, Bond simply replies, “Do I look like I care?” And further, it’s hard to believe that this Bond is the same one that was played by Pierce Brosnan, et al.
Still, Casino Royale is generally a pretty cool movie. Daniel Craig makes a great hero, and the camera clearly loves him. (You may remember him from Munich.)
Craig oozes cool confidence, and even at (or especially at) times like when he’s rising up from the ocean after a swim, you can’t take your eyes off him or his icy blue eyes. Particularly great is the scene when Bond puts on his tuxedo and admires himself in the mirror.
And Craig is ready for action. There’s a really great chase/fight sequence early on that takes place at a construction site that gets the film off to a good pace and sets the tone for how far Bond will go to get the job done.
But I wouldn’t say Casino Royale was the best movie I’d seen in a while. Down the stretch, for example, the wheels come off a bit. Just when you think it’s over — when the plot essentially stops — it keeps laboring to another conclusion. Twenty minutes later, that’s when it ends.
Overall, however, I would recommend Casino Royale. I don’t think it’s a must see, but it’s good fun. I give it a strong B.