2021 saw the end of a particularly brilliant chapter in James Bond history. The iconic role of 007 will now no longer be played by the astounding talent of Daniel Craig, featuring in his last picture for the notorious story, No Time To Die. However, that isn’t Craig’s best moment in a tux. Instead, we think, that was reserved for his first outing as Her Majesty’s most dangerous weapon, the brilliant Casino Royale.
Now showing on Netflix, the movie is a high-powered, high-voltage introduction to Craig’s tenure as 007. Pulsating and powerful, it lifted the campy premise of Piers Brosnan and gave Bond some grit once again. Ever since Craig gave us a fallible action hero in the parkour chase scene at the start of Casino Royale, we knew we were in for something special. Wherever the franchise heads next, Daniel Craig has provided an excellent platform to build from.
Craig wasn’t exactly the preferred choice for the role, with his sharp good looks and blonde hair putting audiences off the choice, though this angst would later be put to rest. Having already demonstrated that he could lead an action movie in Matthew Vaughn’s 2004 film Layer Cake, Craig took to the role of James Bond with immediate international appeal, bringing a far more serious take on the iconic character.
Distinctly more rugged than his previous James Bond counterparts, from the monochrome opening of Martin Campbell’s Casino Royale it was clear that Craig intended to bring an entirely new identity to the classic character. Snapping to life, this scene was crafted with sophistication and style, exploding into violent life with blinding saturated colour that echoes with the tradition of the franchise whilst winking to the promises of the future.
Both physical and rugged as well as psychologically fragile, Craig proved to be one of the most interesting James Bond actors of all time. Speaking to GQ in 2020 about his time as the character, Craig noted: “The biggest ideas are the best…And the biggest ideas are love and tragedy and loss. They just are, and that’s what I instinctively want to aim for”. By showing a fallible action hero that suffered from love, loss and regret, Craig proved to be entirely different from the bunch, reflecting the challenges of a modern generation.
It makes Craig, and by extension, the film, some of the finest work from the franchise and a reminder of just how game-changing a brand new face can be. With a view to the future, following Craig’s departure, it is intriguing to see where James bond will go next. But, until we know that, at least we can sit back and watch the best James bond film of all time on Netflix.