Not everyone loved the idea of Daniel Craig playing James Bond, but it wasn’t long before he had won over his doubters. His intensity, physique, and brooding darkness brought a new side to Fleming’s much-loved character and, today, many people view the Chester-born actor as the finest to play the tuxedo-wearing secret agent.
With the arrival of No Time To Die, Craig’s last outing as Bond, we thought it would be an excellent opportunity to run through all of his movies, ranking them in order of best to worst.
Casino Royale isn’t just one of the best James Bond movies, it’s one of the best all-time casino movies and the first with Daniel Craig in the lead role. While a few eyebrows were raised when Craig was cast as 007, the English actor quickly dispelled any doubts that cinema-goers may have had by turning in a performance that was cool, calm, and oh-so-sophisticated. The plot, the acting, and a legendary game of poker all ensure that this film ranks top of the list of Craig’s best Bond performances.
Skyfall was the first of two James Bond movies that Sam Mendes would direct, and it’s not hard to feel the English filmmaker’s touch whilst watching it. It’s more serious than other Bond movies, but that’s no bad thing. Skyfall is a suspenseful and riveting ride from beginning to end, a movie that shows — perhaps a little late in the franchise — that Bond is a real human being. Daniel Craig plays his role exceptionally well and is supported by outstanding performances from Javier Bardem and Judi Dench, and the elegant directing of Mendes. Most Bond fanatics would put this movie in their top five for the franchise.
No Time To Die
Nobody plays Bond forever! No Time To Die is Craig’s last outing as 007. A hit with both critics and cinema-goers, the movie sees a now-retired Bond brought back to action to help rescue a kidnapped scientist. It’s not as ambitious or sleek as Casino Royale or Skyfall, but it’s deeply engaging and offers the perfect send off to Daniel Craig’s tenure. He arrived with pure style in Casino Royale, but in No Time To Die, he’s in control. The plot is advanced, which is reflected in the 163-minute runtime, but the outstanding cast (Rami Malek, Lashana Lynch, and Ralph Fiennes all excel), and high-end action scenes mean that viewers are never bored.
Quantum of Solace
Quantum of Solace was successful, but it was not universally beloved. A common complaint among cinema-goers was that the movie was perhaps a little too dark. While Daniel Craig’s James Bond has always been more serious than other versions, it was usually in a serious but cool way. In Quantum of Solace, James Bond is positively angry. This, combined with the lack of gadgets and other staples of Bond movies, ensured that this almost didn’t feel like a 007 movie. Still, it was entertaining enough, and the ending, when Bond essentially sends his nemesis Dominic Green to his death, is extremely memorable.
Spectre is the lowest-rated movie of Craig’s tenure, at least according to Rotten Tomatoes. On paper, it should have worked — Sam Mendes, Daniel Craig, and Cristoph Waltz would ordinarily sound like ingredients for a brilliant movie. Yet, the complexity of the plot was an issue. Still, though this was the weakest of Craig’s outings, it’s still a highly watchable movie that audiences broadly enjoyed. And everyone enjoyed the return of the gun barrel sequence at the start of the movie. It’s a small detail but an important one; you know you’re in for a ride when James Bond shoots at the camera.
The consensus must be that Daniel Craig passed the James Bond test with flying colors. With three brilliant movies and two extremely good movies under his belt, he might just go down as the best Bond ever. He’ll be a tough act to follow, for sure.