Q: Why was 006 afraid of 007?
A: Because 007 008 009.
Ooh, how gritty. Thank god they've finally answered the question I never asked: what would it be like if James Bond was a real person and did his spy stuff in the real world. This was Bond, without the goofy gadgets and big name women that weighed down the last few Brosnan movies. To give you an idea of where me and Bond films are at, I like 'em but I've never been a hardcore fan of them. For me there's been no stand-out Bond films. That being said I like the idea of Bond and continue to wait for the new fantastic Bond movie that they've told us is coming for 25 years now... and has yet to arrive.
I didn't care that Daniel Craig had blondish hair (really, that's a STUPID reason to not see this movie no matter how you look at it), but Craig puts in a fantastic performance as James Bond. I liked how he separated himself from Bond's of old and he takes what in all rights should be a very easy cliched role and does something with it. He gives the Bond character depth that I haven't seen before. I really liked that he was suave, but still rough around the edges at the same time and not the superhuman killing machine that guys like Roger Moore represented. I think that’s the kind of thing they were shooting for with Timothy Dalton, but they didn't have 24 or Bourne Identity to steal their concepts from. Only complaint I have against him was that he was too bulked up for the role and tried to show off his muscles too many times.
With Pierce Brosnan you knew exactly what to expect from that guy. He was Mr. Smooth. A corporate sponsored Bond. With Craig it seems they're willing to break the stupid mold and have him do his own thing. I don't blame Brosnan for any of that though. He's a suave son of a bitch. Craig is just kind of an ass and a creep.
The movie was not without flaws: First off the action was fun but notably unspectacular. Bond also said alot of mushy stuff and sometimes the dialogue was American cheese. I also hated the villian. And not in the, 'he's a villian we're supposed to hate him' kind of way but I felt he was a very weak one and not a good foe for 007. I also didn't like the other random villians that suddenly appear in the last half hour. They weren't introduced at all and they are just there.
The third act was REALLY long and dragged the pace down severely and some bits felt a tad redundant at times. Yes Bond and his girl are in love, yes they have sex a lot, we GET it. Move the story along. Did we really need such a dragged out love story just for a swerve?! I realize what they were trying to do and I appreciate it but we really don't need multiple love scenes to establish that point. Plus the poker stuff felt a bit too trendy and will probably seem dated in a few years, once people stop watching it on TV.
The movie had some real surprises. The chase scene at the beginning was simply terrific. Get after that African Darth Maul, James. Or, wait, was Darth Maul already black to begin with?
Plus it had some great smart-ass Bond lines (”Now everyone will know you died scratching my balls” and “The bitch is dead”). The plot (in theory) had a good foundation. And I liked the car flipping and ball smashing.
So when all was said and done, I think this movie was a set up to create a great Bond movie. If they can just contain the plot, have him be flawed and darker, they've got something.
All in all, the movie was a fine effort and definitely the best one since Goldeneye - but still wandered around in some generic bland land. This was a good Bond movie, but not a good movie. Hopefully next time they'll have the balls to be serious enough to hold the plot together till the end - and not have it just fade into the background in exchange for love.
Recommended for Bond completists.
I'd go **1/2.