I think the reboot and redefinition of Bond films during Craig's tenure has (somewhat counter-intuitively) caused long term creative issues for EON. Now it seems like they need to find some type of special hook, in an effort to appear innovative.
Rookie agent gets his heart broken and becomes the Bond we all know and love. (He even resigns from MI6 in the middle.)
Out for vengeance, Bond attempts to uncover the truth behind Vesper's betrayal. (He is stripped of his 00-licence and goes rogue.)
Feeling burnt by MI6, Bond leaves and returns for the monumental death of his beloved M. (He goes off the grid, apparently having been killed.)
The head of SPECTRE is Bond's long-presumed-dead stepbrother. (He resigns once more.)
Maybe instead of trying to wow audiences with some deep, existential crisis for Bond, EON would be better served crafting a strong and compelling story, even if it has no pomp or fanfare.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I miss the John Glen era.
I think there has always been some kind of "hook" that drives them. Right now it is Bond's character and what he has to go through. During Guy Hamiltons days they focused a lot on the women. During the John Glen era, it was the stunt work that was the special hook. God knows what it will be in 20 years.
But in past times, the hook never felt quite so redundant. Yes, MR was basically a repeat of TSWLM, but other than that, it never felt like we were retreading past adventures (and I say this knowing full well that Zorin's plot strongly resembled Goldfinger's, and the ATAC machine was the 1980s equivalent of the Lektor decoder McGuffin). Having different stunt work (your example) in each Glen entry didn't feel like EON was simply rehashing everything that had come before. (And I'm not sure "women" qualify as the hook of the Hamilton entries.)
My point is: a strong plot is more important on a regular basis than the melodrama of the Craig era. Yes, every few films we can have some melodrama, but when we do it in each entry, it becomes stale very fast. (I'd make the same point regarding questioning Bond's loyalty, usefulness, or relevance.)
No, I disagree. There is a striking similarity. In the middle of the 80s, it was unthinkable to produce a new Bond film without a few innovative action set-pieces that would push the stunt team to new limits. Of course they worked with story/characters as well. But that wasn't the main hook that would sell the movie.
We are in a similar situation today, only now the emphasis is more on Bond’s character. Each new film has to put Bond in a new territory. Action & stunt is still important, but it is not the main hook that EON build the rest of the movie around. Whatever they focus on will change over time, but don't expect a drastic change right now.