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Note: This article was originally published on “HEY World” on Oct 25, 2021. I’m moving it to my main blog, as I’ve decided to close my HEY account.

I was never a James Bond fan. I mean I liked the idea of this cool British super spy, but I definitely didn’t like the execution (the actual movies) much. Perhaps that’s because I grew up during the Pierce Brosnan era. I recall I watched all of his James Bond movies on the big screen, but I hated them all. In hindsight I’m even wondering why I bothered to go and see them, as they all felt like some utterly predictable and shallow action comedy that wasn’t particularly funny.

Fast-forward to 2006 and Daniel Craig’s “Casino Royale”. I was blown away by this movie! Okay, my expectations were low to none, but still… A down-to-earth James Bond movie with a title character that you can actually relate to. It’s that movie and Daniel Craig’s portrayal of Bond, that finally made a fan. His troubled past, serious businesslike demeanor, issues of trust and attachment, and subtle sense of humor made this version of 007 the most realistic to date by a large margin. Of course, that’s that also factors in my subjective preference for such complex and multi-dimensional characters. There’s also no denying that the supporting cast was very solid and that the creative vision was to my liking. I recall back then this reminded me somewhat of the recent “Batman Begins” movie, which took a very similar direction to revive the troubled Batman franchise.

Admittedly, not all of Craig’s Bond movies were great, but obviously this is not his fault. There’s only so much that an actor can do with a bad script or a bad director. But even at their worst (Quantum of Solace) the new movies were much better than any 007 movie I can remember. Admitted I don’t remember very well the Sean Connery movies, and I’ve never watched those with Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton. I’m sure many people would argue with my assessment and that’s fine.

You might be wondering why I’m even writing this article. Yesterday I watched Craig’s final Bond movie “No Time to Die”, after re-watching the other 4 movies over the course of the past month. It was a very powerful and emotional experience for me, and I’ve kept thinking about the movie and Daniel’s impact to the character long after the end credits. At this point, for me at least, he’s the only legitimate Bond. The one true James Bond. Plain and simple. I watched the first 20 minutes of “Goldeneye” as a point of comparison and it felt like a bad joke compared to any of Craig’s movies.

By the way, here’s my personal ranking of all of Daniel Craig’s 007 movies:

  1. Casino Royale
  2. Skyfall
  3. No Time to Die
  4. Spectre
  5. Quantum of Solace

I can also recommend the short documentary “Being James Bond: The Daniel Craig Story”. It made me appreciate Daniel’s contribution to the evolution of James Bond even more. Now I know why “Quantum of Solace” was so bad!

So, here we are - right at the very end. Daniel’s story arc as a Bond is complete. I think it was a truly wonderful idea to create a bunch of connected movies that build on one another and tell the story of 007 from him becoming a 00 agent all the way to him leaving the service. I know that many people hated this and would prefer a bunch of standalone adventures, but certainly not me. I owe a huge “Thanks!” to Daniel Craig for re-imagining an iconic character and for making me a fan! I’m really curious what the future has in store for the franchise. One thing is certain, though - someone will have some mighty big shoes to fill!