Casino Royale (2006) is based on Ian Fleming’s first novel and is a reboot of the James Bond series, but to me it actually doesn’t feel much like a James Bond movie at all. There’s none of the campy humor, no gimmicks, and no fancy gadgets. In fact the tool that this James Bond relies on most often is a cell phone. 15 years ago that may have been a Bond gadget, but today anyone can play with the tools of an international spy. As a result this a film with interesting chase sequences and a Bond who has to rely on his intelligence and his fists.
What’s best about this Bond film is its star Daniel Craig. While he has the good looks and charms of other Bonds, he can also be understated and menacing which makes all the difference in the world. He also manages to be sexy without being sexist. Other actors help too especially Judi Dench as M. I was also happy to see Felix Leiter make an appearance as played by Jeffrey Wright.
The film has its flaws. At nearly 2 and half hours in length it feels bloated and often slow and plodding. Susan thought the movie had come to an end three times. The plot is hard to follow in a way that feels more mixed up than complex. But this is mind candy, and more thoughtful mind candy than the typical Bond film, so it’s easy to overlook the flaws.
So I’ll say this is the best Bond movie since From Russia With Love.