1 -- Casino Royale. Craig's performance seals the deal on his casting. Martin Campbell, Judi Dench, and David Arnold all seem rejuvenated by the new direction. EON sandwiched Fleming source material with movie friendly action set pieces. The Miami airport scenes modernizes Bond to topical issues of the times, and even the climactic house collapse can serve as a symbol that Bond can never settle down into domesticity. The film's explanation of Vesper's motives could have been benefited from a clearer exposition, but the tragic ending is non-traditional yet the movie still ends on an uptick as Bond accepts his calling.
2 -- Skyfall. Supremely acted and directed with great cinematography. Excepting the DB5's existence, anniversary references are subtly placed to not detract from the story (*cough* Die Another Day *cough*.) There are some plot holes (Silva's willing capture and subsequent escape), questionable decisions (Bond taking M to the least safe 'safe' house in the UK!), and how Bond recovers from the opening PTS is unanswered. But the development of characters--Bond, M, Mallory, Eve, and Q--use of light and dark, and metaphorically cinematic way to advance the story triumphs concerns over unoriginal parts of the script (remaking both GE's former 00 villain seeking vengeance and TWINE's attack on MI6 and subsequent relocation.) Plus the best titles sequence. Plays as more of a sequel to CR than the preceding film.
3 -- Quantum of Solace. A different take on the usual Bond, being the grittiest and darkest of the series, even more so than Bond's other vengeance film, LTK. Camille is the strongest, most independent character of this Bond's female companions. The action pieces mirroring the four elements--earth, water, air, and fire--tie in nicely with the environmental motif of the film. Hampered by a poor editing style and the writer's strike, the film leaves too many loose ends as to the fate of Mr. White, Guy Haines, and Quantum. With a great score, but tonally deaf title song, the film could have benefited from another year of development. Though more comfortable in Skyfall, Craig nuances more subtext in this performance.
Still, this triad of films is the most solid start to a Bond actor's canon since Connery.
Edited by Professor Pi, 07 July 2013 - 06:22 PM.