When Daniel Craig replaced Pierce Brosnan as the 007 agent, many people weren’t happy. He is blond, he doesn’t look tall like previous actors, he doesn’t look stylish enough, and overall, Casino Royale will be a disaster that will kill the franchise. Despite the strong Casino Royale cast, many people remained skeptical about Daniel Craig going into Pierce Brosnan’s shoes, but after 15 years, we can confidently say that the first Bond movie from Daniel Craig is better than every movie Pierce Brosnan played as James Bond! Back in the day, this would be a bold statement, but now it seems there are no more angry spirits and people accepted Daniel Craig as 007 agent. After all, it was 15 years ago.
In this article, we will try to explain why this movie is arguably number two out of all James Bond movies ever filmed, only behind the iconic Goldfinger, in which Sean Connery paved the way for every future James Bond movie with some iconic lines, such as “A martini. Shaken, not stirred”. IMDb ranks Casino Royale as the best movie ever, but we know that their audience tend are a bit younger and more into 21st-century movies than classic masterpieces.
The Critics and Doubts Before the Movie was Released
Before the filming of this movie even started and after we knew that Pierce Brosnan won’t be featured as Bond again, everybody knew that his replacement, whoever that might be, will be under immense pressure to perform well in his first movie, and the comparisons to other actors who portrayed 007 agent over the time might be brutal for him. When it was announced that Daniel Craig will be the new 007 agent, many were in disbelief, as we previously mentioned. Clive Owen was considered as the best choice to replace Brosnan, as the tall, dark-haired, masculine man, but the producers stayed with their first pick, Craig.
Not only that Craig wasn’t convincing as Bond physically, many questioned his acting skills as well. Before Bond, Craig appeared in many BBC televised series, and some movies, mostly in a supporting role. Although he gained lots of price in almost every role he took, the James Bond franchise seemed like a role out of his league at that time.
However, Daniel Craig silenced the critics with the fantastic portrayal of 007 agent, which he almost reinvented and left his stamp instantly! Let’s see how he did that.
The Reinventing of James Bond
In the last James Bond movies before Casino Royale, the franchise was playing safe. There was always a Bond girl (or a two), one of which is innocent and completely in love with Bond, while the second one is evil and can draw him to hell, but he is attracted to that kind of girl more despite that. It featured too many clichés, gadgetry, special effects, fillers, dumb dialogues, and it seemed that the audience had enough of that.
Casino Royale tended to add another layer to the story, and that is probably why they wanted Daniel Craig so badly. Craig portrayed some historical figures previously, played in theaters, so he should be able to add something to Bond’s character, who started looking like a broken record, at least to the younger generation.
What Craig did, in a nutshell, was adding an emotional layer to the character who was in danger of becoming completely bland and even ridiculed by newer movie fans, who wouldn’t buy Rocky 7 and Terminator 5 and Die Hard 9 – that riding on the back of successful action movies and milking the franchise until the last drop wouldn’t do the trick anymore.
Luckily for the Bond franchise, the producers saw that and created the movie which is now rated as the top three Bond movies of all times, at all movie critique websites.
The Movie in Short
James Bond gets a license to kill before his trip to Madagascar, where he should find and eliminate Le Chiffre, portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen. Le Chiffre is the man behind a dangerous terrorist organization, and he plans to raise money for his future crimes in the high-stakes poker game.
MI6 is aware of that, and mister Bond is the chosen one to play in that game and topple the terrorist organization.
Of course, there are bond girls as always – Eva Green and Caterina Murino. Two beautiful women, but not classic femme fatale like Bond usually had onset. That was probably another layer of reinvention of this character that Daniel Craig brilliantly pulled off.
Daniel Craig’s Next Performances as James Bond
Daniel Craig will play James Bond for the last, fifth time in 2021, in the movie called No Time to Die. Between the first and the fifth one, he portrayed Bond in Quantum of Solace in 2008, Skyfall in 2012, and Spectre in 2015.
Quantum of Solace was a disappointment after it was released because the audience had high expectations after Casino Royale. That didn’t happen, and the movie didn’t resonate well with the audience. Although, after years have passed, we can say that the movie is not that bad as it seemed back in 2008.
Skyfall put the bar higher again, and according to many critics, this is a top-five Bond movie of all times. Interestingly, the man who was dubbed “a horrible replacement” for Pierce Brosnan is now more recognizable as 007 than his predecessor. Of course, the best Bond actor is still the first one, Sir Sean Connery.
Spectre didn’t fulfill expectations again, and this is probably the weakest of all Craig’s Bond movies.
No Time to Die should be a masterpiece because we already know it will be the last Craig’s Bond movie, and we can’t wait to see it!
Casino Royale is truly one of the best movies of the whole Bond franchise. It is funny that the movie which had such low expectations because of the main actor replacement set the bar higher for the whole franchise and after 15 years, stays close to the iconic Sean Connery’s Bond movies.