Craig’s final outing as the secret agent is too long and needs a better villain, but attempts at real change to the 007 formula feel fun and fresh
Perhaps more than any previous Bond, the Daniel Craig era has, for better or worse, managed to tap into the mood of the British national psyche with each new film. Casino Royale, released the year after the 7 July London terror attacks, was a lean, focused and brutally businesslike proposition. Quantum of Solace was messy, noisy and slightly panicky. And subsequent films brought us a Bond who was forced to do battle on two fronts, both against Spectre and his own irrelevance on an increasingly tech-enabled killing field. Essentially British exceptionalism made flesh and wrapped in a Savile Row suit and a sneer, Bond ploughed on with the old ways, at considerable cost to those around him.
Now Craig’s swansong in the role arrives, nearly 18 months later than originally planned. And like many of us, it’s bloated and flabby around the mid-section and prone to moments of confusion. But it’s also the first Bond movie in forever that attempts real change, tearing down some of the well-worn conventions of the 007 formula. All of which should heighten the anticipation around the casting of Craig’s replacement no end.