Daniel Craig is the best James Bond because he’s made 007 dangerous again.
Sean Connery was cool, Roger Moore turned into a cartoon character, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan had the misfortune to appear in the franchise when it was tired and unwilling to do what was necessary to make it fresh again. But Craig added real danger to his icy cool portrayal, and sent Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace to a whole new level that the franchise hadn’t experienced before.
Full disclosure: While I grew up with Bond movies and liked most of them, I was never a huge fan of the franchise. But the Daniel Craig era turned me into a fanboy. I loved that they made Bond more about his physicality and brainpower than drowning us in a cacophony of unbelievable gadgets, flying cars and exploding pens.
The latest, Skyfall, may be the very best in the 50 year old series. Javier Bardem is now one of the best of the Bond villains, and Bond fans will love all the clever shoutouts to the touchstones of the past. There’s your Aston Martin. There’s your Q. There’s your shaken, not stirred. There’s your “Bond, James Bond.” But it also has the new elements firing on all cylinders – a real story, Judi Densch’s M, physical action scenes that show us Bond is not indestructible. He struggles – he’s not some kind of comic book superhero. But even when Bond pulls off a physical feat that’s beyond the physics of the real world, like falling into a waterfall and surviving, or jumping onto a train car that’s just been ripped open, they add a little touch of Bond coolness. For example, after jumping onto the aforementioned train in the midst of its destruction, he adjusts the sleeves of his jacket. That’s Bond.
But this Bond also suffers real consequences. He really gets wounded when shot. And while he can be cool and emotionless, there are events that bring his emotions to the surface, with devastating results. In Skyfall, we get to see what it takes to really hurt James Bond to the core.
Go see it, it’s worth every moneypenny.