A bore...Not only in comparison with the wonderful Batman and Indy Jones 2 the same year, but compared with other Bonds.
After the embarassment of the producers carrying on with Roger Moore for far too long (should have gone out after Octopussy, and even in that one he was obviously not in Bondian shape, and it had an awful attempt at humor with the Tarzan yell but it was FUN), and the awfulness of so many moments during Roger's long reign (the awful attempts at humor, the too young ice skater in FYEO, the disinterested female lead in the final Moore portrayal), Bond afficionados were QUITE ready for a new, back-to-the-books and back-to-the-cinema-spirit Bond...and, even in TLD Dalton was a snore. He seemed so often to lack confidence. Is Bond uncertain at times in the Connery films and in the books ? Sure ! But he does not look like a nervous schoolboy. In TLD when he stands with his leg turned inward, he conveys vulnerability, not cojones. I could not stand that moment then and every time I recall it since then, the same. It was enough to turn the audience off to him being accepted and liked as Bond. The next picture was just an episode of waiting for this guy to be done so we can move on.
Of course, besides the actor, the script for LTK was horrendous. It WASTED several good scenes from the books, quite unfortunately, and it WASTED a great henchman, played by a quite young Benicio Del Toro. The villain was just another criminal. A guy we'd seen in other stuff who just did not belong in a Bond movie. He was great in Die Hard as a jerk FBI agent....was he worthy of being the villain in the film ? No, of course not ! They casted the very fine Alan Rickman and HE played a memorable and menacing villain. The story and plot were far too reminiscent of TV shows. Not even a TV movie, just a show. Horrible.
They wasted a good actor, Dalton, with him playing an unimpressive Bond, and with boring, dull scripts. I don't think Dalton was handsome or dashing to most of the audience, either. That may be a reflection of the scripts. Had the stories been more exciting and the scenes more glamorous and grand, it might have helped.
I've read Fleming in full, and been going to see these films since the first, and Roger's era was understandably a change of approach (the light-heartedness which started, actually, in DAF, so you could see it coming, but which was marred by his rough mistreatment of non-deserving ladies, apparently to make him seem tough -- but for roughing up a lady, really ???). But that went on too long because they became ridiculous (MR) and, even after they reigned it in they could not resist some awfulness (young girl skater whom Bond must explicitly turn away making his age an open issue), they went on one film too long -- wasting some interesting ideas and actors (Christopher Walken's villain, May Day) which all would have worked well with a younger Bond. Then, the purgatory of the Dalton films which a fan just had to wait out until it was done. When they finally got the young, handsome, dashing Pierce Brosnan up for it, it was QUITE the relief and hit the right notes. Certainly, DAD went overboard (and the computer graphics were worse than in a child's tv show when he "surfed" the icy tsunami), but Pierce did it right and the stories were not just cop show drug busts. The Craig films have been superb. I realize QOS suffered from the strike the year it was made, but it still stands well above the embarassments and the dreary sufferings in prior years...