The James Bond franchise has entertained audiences for over half a century, with different actors taking on the role of the suave British spy. Daniel Craig, the sixth actor to portray James Bond, ushered in a modern and darker interpretation of Bond. In this article, we will examine and rank each of Daniel Craig’s Bond movies!
1. Skyfall (2012)
The third film in Craig’s tenure as Bond, Skyfall, brought in director Sam Mendes. The movie features an Oscar-winning theme song by Adele and sees Bond facing a formidable adversary in Raoul Silva, played by Javier Bardem.
The plot of Skyfall is more personal for Bond, as he struggles with his loyalty to M (Judi Dench) and the changing landscape of espionage. The film visits Bond’s past and explores his relationship with M, providing a deeper understanding of her motivations. The supporting cast includes Naomie Harris as Eve Moneypenny, Ben Whishaw as Q, and Ralph Fiennes as Gareth Mallory, who eventually takes over as the new M.
Javier Bardem’s performance as Silva is one of the most memorable aspects of Skyfall, bringing an unsettling quality to the character. The film’s action sequences are impeccably executed, while Roger Deakins’ cinematography is impressive.
Skyfall was a commercial and critical success, with many praising the innovative direction taken by Mendes. Skyfall is a near perfect Bond film, classic in every way.
2. Casino Royale (2006)
Casino Royale, the first movie featuring Daniel Craig as James Bond, redefined the franchise going deeper into the origins of the character. Directed by Martin Campbell, who also helmed Pierce Brosnan’s debut in GoldenEye, this film showcases a grittier, more vulnerable Bond.
The plot revolves around Bond’s mission to defeat Le Chiffre, an enigmatic villain portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen. Le Chiffre, a private banker to terrorists, is known for his high-stakes poker games at the Casino Royale. Bond is sent to defeat him in a game of poker, accompanied by Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), a British treasury agent.
Casino Royale stands out for the palpable chemistry between Craig and Green. Their tragic love story becomes a driving force in the movie that elevates it above the others. The film was a massive success at the box office and garnered widespread critical acclaim, cementing Craig’s place as the new face of the Bond franchise.
3. No Time to Die (2021)
No Time to Die marks the end of Daniel Craig’s tenure as James Bond and is directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga. The film had a delayed release due to the COVID-19 pandemic, eventually premiering in 2021. The movie features an all-star cast, including Rami Malek as the enigmatic villain Safin, Lashana Lynch as Nomi, a new 00 agent, and Ana de Armas as Paloma, a CIA operative.
The story picks up after the events of Spectre, with Bond enjoying a quiet retirement in Jamaica, but fearful and mistrustful of those around him. He is soon called back into action by his old friend Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) to rescue a kidnapped scientist, leading him on a collision course with the dangerous Safin. As the plot unfolds, Bond must confront his past, his relationship with Madeline (Lea Seydoux), and the legacy he leaves behind as 007.
No Time to Die pays homage to Craig’s previous Bond films, bringing closure to his character arc and addressing lingering questions from earlier installments. The film is praised for its casting and action sequences. However, it has also faced criticism for its lengthy runtime and occasionally convoluted plot.
Rami Malek’s portrayal of Safin adds a sinister and enigmatic presence to the film, while Lashana Lynch’s Nomi represents a fresh take on the 00 agent archetype. The movie also sees the return of familiar faces, such as Ben Whishaw’s Q, Naomie Harris’s Moneypenny, and Ralph Fiennes’s M, providing a sense of continuity and closure for fans of the Craig era.
No Time to Die enjoyed both commercial success and critical acclaim, solidifying Craig’s legacy as one of the better actors to have played Bond. While it may not rank as highly as some of his earlier films, No Time to Die is still a fitting conclusion to Daniel Craig’s tenure as the world’s most famous spy.
4. Spectre (2015)
Spectre, the fourth installment in Daniel Craig’s tenure as James Bond, sees the return of the notorious criminal organization SPECTRE, which has its roots in Ian Fleming’s original novels. Directed by Sam Mendes, the film attempts to weave together plot threads from the previous three films while introducing new elements.
In Spectre, Bond uncovers a sinister plot to create a global surveillance network, orchestrated by Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz), who is revealed to be Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the head of SPECTRE. The film also introduces the character of Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), the daughter of a former SPECTRE operative, with whom Bond forms a romantic connection. Supporting characters, such as Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) from the CIA and Moneypenny (Naomie Harris), return to aid Bond in his mission.
While Spectre boasts impressive action sequences and an intriguing villain in Waltz’s Blofeld, the film has been criticized for its over-reliance on Bond series tropes. The film’s attempt to connect previous Craig-era James Bond movies has been met with mixed reactions, with some feeling it detracts from the standalone nature of the earlier installments. Despite its flaws, Spectre was a commercial success, with many fans enjoying the nods to classic Bond films.
5. Quantum of Solace (2008)
Directed by Marc Forster, Quantum of Solace is the follow-up to Casino Royale. The movie continues the story of Bond’s quest for revenge after the death of Vesper Lynd, as he uncovers a clandestine organization known as Quantum.
The film’s plot revolves around Bond’s pursuit of Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), a businessman and member of Quantum, who seeks to control vital natural resources in Bolivia. Along the way, Bond encounters Camille Montes (Olga Kurylenko), a woman with her own vendetta against Greene. Quantum of Solace also sees the return of Judi Dench as M and introduces new characters, such as Agent Fields (Gemma Arterton) and Mr. White (Jesper Christensen).
Quantum of Solace faced several challenges during production, including the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike, which impacted the film’s script. As a result, the film was criticized for its thin plot and lack of character development. The movie’s editing and pacing have also been a point of contention, with some viewers finding it difficult to follow the action.
Despite these shortcomings, Quantum of Solace has its merits, including the continued exploration of Bond’s emotional turmoil and a gritty, modern aesthetic that distinguishes it from the more lighthearted Roger Moore era. While not as successful as its predecessor, Casino Royale, the film still performed well at the box office.
Daniel Craig’s portrayal of Bond reinvigorated the franchise, introducing a darker, more complex Bond. From the critically acclaimed Casino Royale to the emotionally charged No Time to Die, each film offers something unique and exciting. While some may be stronger than others, there is no denying the impact that Craig’s 007 has had on the long-standing Bond series.