Any franchise that’s been around as long as the James Bond series is always going to suffer from some inconsistency, and even over half a century later, the debate still rages on over which actor played the best version of 007, or which one of the 24 movies to date is the most enjoyable. Of course, Daniel Craig is bowing out as cinema’s most famous secret agent in this year’s No Time to Die, and the general consensus is that the 52 year-old is definitely in the conversation when it comes to the best Bond ever.
However, none of his outings have managed to recapture the magic of his debut, with Casino Royale both reinventing Bond for the 21st Century and delivering one of the greatest action movies ever made in the process, marking the second time director Martin Campbell had introduced a new face in the title role to spectacular effect after Pierce Brosnan’s maiden outing in Goldeneye.
Brosnan’s final hurrah in Die Another Day may have been the highest-grossing Bond film ever up to that point, but it was painfully lacking in the creative department, and by the time the next reboot came around, MI6’s most famous son was in real danger of losing his crown as the industry’s premiere operative to the likes of Jason Bourne and Ethan Hunt.
Going back to basics, though, or as much as you can in a $150 million blockbuster that needs to hit a certain amount of required beats, Casino Royale finally gave Bond a harder edge, with the movie containing several phenomenal set-pieces for good measure. And now, with Craig’s time in the tux drawing to a close, fans will be able to revisit the movie where it all started when Casino Royale arrives on Netflix on August 31st.