Casino Royale

Casino Royale ★★★★

Previous James Bonds, even Sean Connery, have been lethal dandies. In Casino Royale, new star Daniel Craig delivers the first Bond who scares you. The movie’s mission is to reclaim the franchise by starting at the beginning and delivering a darker, denser experience. And so there is the rugged Craig; a shockingly violent black-and-white prologue; and a welcome interrogation of the underlying misogyny that has always permeated the series. Not that this is a total reboot: Returning director Martin Campbell (GoldenEye) adds to the legacy of elaborate stunt sequences with a thrilling, high-wire chase through a high-rise construction site early on. That sequence reveals something else about this new Bond: more often than not, he’s the pursuer, not the prey. Previous Bonds spent all their time getting out of dangerous situations; this Bond creates them.