I was wrong.
There were a lot of things I liked about Casino Royale–while the last few Bond films have been entertaining, but lacking substance, this movie is entertaining, substantial and gives the franchise the kick in the pants it needs to compete against today’s action films while staying true to the original source material.
I have to admit, while I was looking forward to seeing the movie, I went in with low expectations, expecting to be merely entertained. I’ve seen every Bond movie multiple times, as well as read the original Fleming novels (even if it was back in junior high when I didn’t understand everything going on). And while the latest Bond movies have been all style and no substance, CR introduces actual mental anguish for Bond and shows the physical effects of him doing his job. Also, it looks like the series now has continuity and an evil “shadowy organization” rather than an insane megalomanic intent on blowing up the world.
The action scenes were great, although it seemed like they kept going and going. I think you could have deleted one of the first two chase scenes and not lost much. The movie did seem long, but because they stuck to the original material, I didn’t mind.
There were some funny parts to the movie, and I thought it re-established the fact that Bond movies could be humorous without having to insult the audience. The movie wasn’t as funny as the original Casino Royale, but that’s a good thing.
Overall, a good return to the Bond franchise’s roots, and while I was wrong about the whole Craig as Bond thing, I don’t mind too much.