Daniel Craig shows us that preconceived notions are intended to be broken.

For something like 12 months before the release of the latest Bond mega-hit Casino Royale the media was full of “the story”: Bond was Blond! Blond actor Daniel Craig stepped into the role of Bond, and was almost immediately pelted with ‘he’s too blond’, ‘he’s too feminine’, ‘he’s not going to be able to pull off the role’, ‘he’s too young’ and a million other such blatant insults.

Of course none of this has anything to do with Casino Royale. Whats to stop Craig from doing as good a job as anyone? Just because Connery or Brosnan wasn’t blond, doesn’t mean they were any better.

In fact, you have to go back to the Connery films before you find another Bond film that is even half as good as Casino Royale.

Basically, the movie starts off with Bond attaining his 007 status (a licence to kill), and goes through with Bond as he tackles his first major case, gets on the nerve of M, almost gets killed and wins over the girl.

I know: it sounds just like any other Bond film.

However, Casino Royale is vastly different for 3 main reasons. And here they are now!

1) Bond goes back to basics. In terms of the action sequences, Casino Royale is incredibly natural and flows almost seamlessly. You can tell that Daniel Craig did all his own stunts, and the sequences themselves are incredibly believable – an aspect that was sorely missing in the likes of Die Another Day or The World Is Not Enough, which were essentially tailor-made to suit the MTV generation. Not only that, but the gadgetry that has become a Bond staple is also missing – and while this could have been a huge mistake, it actually works incredibly well. Bond is equipped only with the very basic things that he needs to survive.

This results in the third back-to-basics event: given the lack of over-the-top action sequences and totally unbelievable gadgetry, Casino Royale relies more on the story and character aspects of the film. Craig is the most human Bond we’ve ever seen, and for the first time I found myself genuinely interested in the character rather than what he was up to.

2) The story is utterly fantastic. As mentioned above, given the lack of gadgetry and over-the-top action sequences, Casino Royale relies more on character and story – and in my opinion that is the most welcome change of all. While the plot is filed in the ‘could only happen to a spy’ category, its still brilliant: Bond is assigned by M to investigate a terrorism financier named Le Chiffre (played very creepily by Mads Mikkelson). As a result, he ends up involved in an incredibly high stakes game of poker (thus the ‘casino’ moniker).

I would share more but I don’t want to ruin anything for those who haven’t yet seen it.

The plot is certainly elaborate, and indicative of the whole Bond series, but due to the character focus of the story, as well as the incredibly smooth action sequences, it is completely immersive: the sign of any great story.

3) Daniel Craig is the best Bond yet. Okay, I know I’m prone to exaggeration in my proclamation of things like this, but I am absolutely convinced that Daniel Craig is the best Bond so far. If you consider the best aspects of all the previous Bonds combined, you might come close to Daniel Craig. Maybe.

In conclusion, Casino Royale is the best Bond film released in my lifetime, and easily one the best since at least the early 70s. Daniel Craig should remain as Bond for years to come. And if you haven’t seen it yet, you need to see it as soon as possible.