The James Bond Movies Starring Daniel Craig: A Review

by Allie Vasserman


November 23, 2020

When I heard that a new James Bond movie, No Time to Die, was coming out, I became excited and immediately wanted to write a review about it. But because of the ongoing pandemic, the movie keeps getting pushed back for release. I decided to write short reviews on the previous James Bond movies starring Daniel Craig instead.

Casino Royale is the first James Bond movie with Daniel Craig as James Bond. It is the first movie of the current reboot of the James Bond saga. Casino Royale got some criticism from fans when Daniel Craig was cast as James Bond, because some previous Bond actors, a list that includes Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Pierce Brosnan, had brown eyes and dark hair, while Daniel Craig has blue eyes and blond hair.  Once the movie came out, the audience warmed up to this modern version of James Bond.

Casino Royale is based on the first James Bond novel, written by Ian Fleming. In addition to Daniel Craig, the film stars Eva Green as Vesper Lynd, Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre, Judi Dench as M, and Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter.  It is directed by Martin Campbell. The movie introduces the audience to secret agent James Bond, and begins by showing how James Bond receives his 007 code name in MI6, the United Kingdom’s foreign secret intelligence agency.  Bond’s first official mission as agent 007 leads him through several high-speed chase scenes and action scenes, culminating in a high-stakes poker game with Le Chiffre, Bond’s main antagonist in the movie.  It is critical that Bond beat Le Chiffre in this game, because a great sum of money and many innocent lives are on the line. Bond is joined on his mission by a female agent named Vesper Lynd and a male CIA agent named Felix Leiter. Following many suspenseful developments, Bond succeeds in his mission to beat Le Chiffre; however, there is a surprise twist in the end. This movie is a great start to the James Bond reboot. The plot is suspenseful and interesting, and all of the actors do a great job in this movie.  Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre is especially creepy as the “bad guy” of the movie.

Quantum of Solace is a direct sequel to Casino Royale. In addition to Daniel Craig, it stars Olga Kurylenko as Camille, Mathieu Amalric as Greene, Judi Dench as M, Gemma Arterton as Strawberry Fields, and Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter. It is directed by Marc Forster. The movie starts out with a high-speed car chase and Bond’s subsequent realization that there are double agents in the MI6 agency. His mission then becomes to find where these double agents come from, and he is driven by feelings of revenge from the twist at the end of the previous film. It certainly helps to see Casino Royale before this movie, because some of Bond’s motivations in this film can be traced back to the previous one. Quantum of Solace has great action scenes and good acting by the main characters, but the plot is somewhat confusing, and therefore, I think it is a rather disappointing sequel to Daniel Craig’s first James Bond movie. 

Skyfall is the third movie in this James Bond saga, and it is directed by Sam Mendes. Beyond Daniel Craig, the film stars Judi Dench as M, Javier Bardem as Silva, Ralph Fiennes as Gareth Mallory, Naomie Harris as Eve, and Ben Whishaw as Q. It begins with James Bond’s assignment to go on another mission, this time assisted by agent Eve. An enemy of the MI6 gets his hands on a list that reveals the identities of MI6 double agents, and he leaks parts of it as part of a revenge plot. It becomes Bond’s responsibility to find the enemy and capture him. In doing so, Bond unknowingly sets a larger plot in motion. It is not necessary to have seen the previous two films to enjoy this one. The action scenes are exciting; the plot is interesting and unpredictable. All of the actors again play their roles well. Javier Bardem’s Silva is especially memorable as the antagonist of the movie. I think that Silva is the greatest Bond villain, because he comes the closest to succeeding in his plan. And there is another twist ending in this movie that affects one of the characters we have grown to care about.

Spectre is the fourth movie in the saga. Sam Mendes returns as director, and besides Daniel Craig, the movie stars Christophe Waltz as Blofeld, Lea Seydoux as Madeleine, Ralph Fiennes as M, Naomi Harris as Eve, and Ben Whishaw as Q. It also features Dave Bautista as Hinx. The movie starts with Bond’s unauthorized mission to Mexico City on the Day of the Dead. There, he succeeds in preventing a terrorist bomb from exploding. The consequences of his actions lead him to investigate a secret criminal ring, which then leads him to a former associate. And so the story unfolds: Bond teams up with old friends and a new ally to stop a larger sinister plot against the world. While this movie is not a direct sequel to Skyfall, it is helpful to have watched Skyfall first. We learned about Bond’s early life in Skyfall, and Spectre builds upon that knowledge. The relationships Bond started with his MI6 colleagues in Skyfall are also developed more in Spectre. Similar to the previous films in the James Bond reboot, Spectre has exciting high-speed chases and suspenseful action scenes. I really enjoyed watching all of these movies except for Quantum of Solace. My dislike for that movie comes from its storyline, which is difficult to follow. My favorite Daniel Craig James Bond movie is Spectre, mainly because of its plot and fight scenes. I especially enjoyed how well-coordinated all of the action scenes were. It is a really interesting movie, and it shows how clever James Bond is. Every James Bond movie has a song in the movie title sequence, and Spectre’s “Writing on the Wall” by Sam Smith is my favorite. Older James Bond movies have a gun barrel shot before the title sequence, and I find it interesting that Casino Royale is the only movie in this new James Bond reboot to contain that classic James Bond shot. None of the other movies in the saga have that detail. When you get the chance, I definitely recommend watching these James Bond movies, perhaps with the exception of Quantum of Solace. I’m hopeful that the newest addition, No Time to Die, will be released soon.

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