Ayden The NinjaPirateBear’s review published on Letterboxd:
New #1 alert! New #1 alert!
Casino Royale is the one Bond film I had previously seen before undertaking this Bond-a-thon, however, apart from the parkour sequence at the start, I had no real recollection of specific events, just knowing that I liked the film. But this was much better than I remembered.
It takes the dark grittiness I loved about Licence To Kill and mixes it with the excellent action sequences and tight pacing from GoldenEye, then gives us a villain that rivals Goldfinger as my favourite in the whole franchise...this had to place first overall!
I mentioned the action sequences above but there really isn't that many. But the few that are in here are highly memorable. But it's really the story that shines through on this one; every main character in this is given some depth, even the Bond girl! A novel concept, I know. Yes, that's right. The Bond girl in this one, played excellently by Eva Green, not only has a character but also great chemistry with Daniel Craig and it makes their scenes really enjoyable and their budding romance that much more believable.
I also loved Mads Mikkelsen, but when is he not good? His villain was cold, calculated and very intelligent, but also heavily flawed and showed some serious vulnerability in certain scenes.
Of course, Judi Dench is also great and she also works really well with Daniel Craig, who did a phenomenal job himself. I loved his no-nonsense approach to everything. No quips, no whoring himself around (sure, he banged that lady at the start but wanted information out of her.)
My only real issue with this is the third act, which did feel somewhat rushed compared to the rest of the film, which is a shame as this was near-perfect in my eyes. I mean, fuck, a poker game takes up a good chunk of the runtime and it is never once boring. In fact, it kept me on the edge of my seat many times.
Overall, I'll be very surprised if one of the three remaining Bonds knocks this off of the throne but I am excited to find out if they can!