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The following article contains spoilers.
No Time to Die has officially put an end to the Daniel Craig James Bond era.
For many James Bond fans, it will be hard to say farewell to a cold, more rugged James Bond, for others it will be more than easy to say goodbye. Whether you liked the Daniel Craig James Bond era or not, you can’t deny that he revitalized the franchise, but some will argue he revitalized it just to kill it in the end. Craig played Bond, James Bond, (sorry I had to) for 5 movies, making him the third longest tenured actor to play the character.
Daniel Craig was never interested in playing a gimmicky version of James Bond; instead, he sought to portray a grittier, more realistic version of agent 007: a version of Bond that is haunted by his past and not eager to save the world in his future.
Initially Craig’s casting to be the new Bond was seen as a terrible move, and many fans threatened to boycott the movie as Daniel Craig didn’t fit the profile of what James Bond is supposed to look like.
Daniel Craig wasn’t your grandpa’s James Bond; he was this generation’s James Bond. A Bond who used gadgets, cars riddled with secret weapons and a suaveness never seen before.
To commemorate the Daniel Craig era, here is each Bond film ranked from worst to best:
5. Quantum of Solace
A disappointing follow up to Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace is a mediocre movie at best.
It’s hard to criticize Daniel Craig’s performance, mainly because he would show up on set not knowing what his lines are because there were no lines to be read. The movie was made during the Writers Strike of 2007-2008, and unfortunately for Craig, there was no finished screenplay until the movie was completed.
Marc Forster’s use of shaky-cam was a huge swing-and-miss for a movie that goes by the book more often than not. A bad villain, a decent supporting cast, and a very weak plot makes for a mediocre film.
Again, Marc Forster and Daniel Craig had to make up lines and continue the story while they were on set ready to shoot the next scene, so it’s hard to say Quantum of Solace was terrible because the movie literally had no script.
Spectre’s production was rushed from day one and led to an incredibly boring movie.
Daniel Craig looked like he’d rather be having his finger nails ripped off than act in another scene. After the filming was completed, Craig said he would rather slit his wrist than do another Bond movie, a quote he later regretted, but at the time he certainly meant it.
Who could blame him? He was upset that Spectre was rushed and old tropes were brought back. The movie was dull from start to finish with an occasional good fight scene mixed in. Daniel Craig looked like a hostage being coerced into acting in the movie, and that turned many fans and critics off to the film.
Christoph Waltz’s character had so much potential but couldn’t fill his predecessor, Javier Bardem’s, shoes. Instead, he was a misused villain that was set up to fail, something everyone saw from the beginning.
3. No Time to Die
No Time to Die was a fitting end to the Daniel Craig era.
I’ll go one step further and say it was a bittersweet ending to the Daniel Craig era. Sadly, we saw James Bond die in the end, something we never thought would happen. James Bond couldn’t die because he would always outsmart the villain and drive off into the sunset, but not this time.
Bond sacrifices himself in a moment that completed not only the movie, but Craig’s portrayal of James Bond. He knew what he had to do and did it, even if it meant he was going to die.
The movie, overall, was good. It survived an under-cooked villain, lazy plot points, and the sad ending. At the least No Time to Die was a fitting end, and at the most it was a symbolic movie that capped off a great era.
At the time of its release, this movie had Oscar buzz, and in retrospect the movie should’ve been nominated for best special effects because Sam Mendes brought out the big guns for this action-packed movie that could pass as just an action movie, not a Bond movie.
Bond plays a mostly silent hero this time, focused on stopping Javier Bardem’s character Raoul Silva from killing M. We are introduced to Ralph Fiennes as the new M, and for the first time since Casino Royale, everything in the movie works to perfection.
The suspense and action in Skyfall tops any James Bond movie, and as a cherry on top, the acting is superb. Maybe Skyfall should’ve been nominated for Best Picture….
1. Casino Royale
Coming into this movie, a lot of people expected Casino Royale to be a dud and fail miserably. They were sorely mistaken, and fans were treated to arguably the best Bond movie ever.
Daniel Craig brought James Bond into the 21st century, and never looked back. The action, suspense, directing, acting and plot is fantastic. If Skyfall featured the best action in any James Bond movie, Casino Royale is a close second.
The chemistry in this movie is unparalleled. There are so many re-watchable scenes that it’s hard to keep track, and it is without a doubt the most re-watchable James Bond movie ever. Viewers never see Craig as suave, emotional, or even cold as we do in Casino Royale.
Daniel Craig, love him or hate him, brought James Bond into the modern age, something the franchise sorely needed. He revitalized the franchise, though he had his ups and downs, but in the end, he was our James Bond.