There is a lot of critique of Daniel Craig in general as Bond, and Casino Royale movie featuring him, in particular. Many old fans of the Bond series claim they do not like the appearance of the actor and his physique which seems “too much” for them. Some state he does not look like a spy, who is able to creep into favor both to an average person and to a representative of aristocracy and upper-class society. Others moan he is too brutal and not attractive enough for traditional image of Bond. The list of flaws, real or imagined, can go on.
And yet, Casino Royale caused a stir among the public, and the majority of movie experts, critics, and passionate fans believe this is one of the best films since the 60s. Not the best episode ever, of course, because there is no limit to perfection, but definitely this particular movie has brought the Bondiana to the next level.
One of the first benefits of Casino Royale that many viewers notice is a multi-staged plot. We are not taken immediately to the scene where Bond has to play poker with Le Chiffre. A good half of the movie passes before we are served the main course and get the chance to watch beautiful Eva Green in action. This is so unusual for modern films in general, and pretty beneficial for this series as well. Moreover, after the main villain represented by brilliant Mads Mikkelsen is killed, and the happy couple in love takes a small vacation, the viewers are not shown final captions immediately. After Vesper dies, we still have some good chunk of the movie to enjoy the explanations. So, definite merit to the plot!
The next merit is James Bond character. Craig has definitely upgraded him in physique, even if appearance may be somewhat “losing the game” type for an elegant and elusive spy. He is not a glossy beau anymore; this is a mature man chosen for being a well-trained, physically strong and enduring, and cold-blooded killer. He is not flawless, he makes mistakes and takes wrong steps, but this makes the character more humane.
There is less posh nonsense in the movie about Bond drinking only five-star Hennessey of smoking only particular cigars, there is less futuristic technology that usually stays unexplained; the luxury is more organic. In addition, agent 007 is less preoccupied with women and sex; he can use sex as a tool if he needs it, but does not seem to lose his head after all. Considering those aspects, the atmosphere generally breaks the traditions of the Bondiana series, but since we are in the 21st century and the audience’s tastes have changed, this is a smart move.
And eventually, the gem of the Casino Royale movie, Bond’s girlfriend Vesper Lynd performed by Eva Green. Except for the obvious benefits of being beautiful and elegant, Vesper has a list of other merits, the first one she is more realistic than all her predecessors. She is not a trained athlete or anything, she is not a spy or killer, she is an “accountant”. This woman cannot run a marathon on heels, cannot fight with a man as equal because she never needed to before, and looks definitely shocked and traumatized when she sees Bond killing people. She is not a superhero and this makes her real.
Due to those merits, Casino Royale raises the level for Bondiana as such. It is less obviously posh but more elegant, and the plot keeps the viewer interested till the end captions are shown. Maybe Daniel Craig is not the most handsome agent 007, but he manages the task decently.