Daniel Craig’s stint as James Bond has come to a close with the film “No Time to Die.” With his era now in the rearview, it gives an opportunity to take a look at Craig’s five Bond films and see where they rank.
Overall, Craig’s run as Bond was a pretty damn good one, even if there were some films that fell short in quality. Here’s how I place the Craig era Bond flicks, from worst to best.
Quantum of Solace (2008)
“Solace” was certainly the low point of the Craig era. Mind you, the movie isn’t awful. There are far worse action flicks out there.
However, “Quantum” falls short in a lot of categories when comparing it to the other entries in the franchise. The story is overly convoluted and not really that interesting, and the action sequences don’t do enough to keep audiences in a good mood.
I think any follow-up to “Casino” was going to have its work cut out for it, considering the quality of that film. With that in mind, one wants to give “Quantum” the benefit of the doubt, but it’s just too dull.
I have two film-related opinions that can be considered “hot takes.”
One, I think “Spider-Man 3” is better than “Spider-Man 2.”
Two, “Skyfall” was one of the weaker Bond flicks featuring Craig.
The movie boasts camerawork by legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins, so it looks absolutely fantastic. However, the movie was lacking in a lot of other areas.
When it comes to the fun charm many of the other Bond films have, “Skyfall” runs at a deficit. This 007 entry just takes itself far too seriously, and comes across as cold and sterile.
The picture also features things that have been done far better in other films. An evil ex-MI6 agent? Done better in “GoldenEye” with 006. Silva intentionally getting caught with a plan of escaping? Done better by the Joker in “The Dark Knight.”
Then we get a “Home Alone” for grownups action segment as the finale, with hardly any stakes. There’s a good emotional moment where a key character dies, but it’s too, little too late by the time it happens.
On top of that, I felt the song by Adele was a rather weak Bond opening, despite it winning the Oscar.
No Time to Die (2021)
The Craig era ended in convincing fashion this year with “No Time to Die.” While the film fell short in the villain department, the rest of the movie works at a high level.
The movie carries on the continuity of the previous four films with a great conclusion for Bond’s overall character arc in this saga. The film has a well built story and a strong emotional core that keeps an audience hooked.
The action sequences are exceptional in the movie, with an especially great scene in the woods where an outgunned Bond has to take out multiple henchmen. There’s a bit of freshness to the movie, too, with the introduction of a new 007.
“Spectre” was a wonderful return to the Bond form after the disappointment of “Skyfall.” The film had an enjoyable variety of well-crafted action scenes, a cool henchman played by Dave Bautista, plenty of suave moments and a good deal of charming humor. The Bond swagger was present with this one.
Craig was able to have some fun as Bond here which was great to see, and it was a treat having his main enemy being played by Christoph Waltz. Seeing the two-time Academy Award winner put his spin on one of the franchise’s most memorable villains really helped the film.
“Spectre” also introduces an interesting dynamic connecting Bond and Blofeld, which helped to tie together the continuity of the current story arc. Lea Seydoux was also a good addition as Madeleine Swann and her relationship with Bond made the film stronger, too.
The movie deserves credit in how it incorporates the topic of surveillance in its main villain plot, too.
Casino Royale (2006)
The First Bond film of the Craig era was also the best. The movie reinvigorated the franchise in impressive fashion by getting off to a powerful start. There’s a brutal fight in a bathroom where Bond eliminates a target followed by a wonderful action sequence in the opening act where 007 runs through a wall.
Bond has this young, hot-shot attitude as a new 00 in the flick and that swagger and confidence works superbly well for the franchise. The character arc for Bond is well set up, too, with the events in the third act helping a young 007 become the dangerous, focused agent audiences know him as.
The supporting cast is great as well. Eva Green is solid as Bond’s partner Vesper Lynd, Jeffrey Wright is a fantastic addition to the franchise as CIA agent Felix Leiter, Judi Dench is once again great as M and Mads Mikkelsen is spot on as a calculating villain.
Adding the element of poker into the film allows the characters to interact in interesting fashion, too. The players all have hidden motives, which brings a game of wits to the table, because the characters have more to lose than just money.
Photos courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.