Dennis Duffy’s review published on Letterboxd:
Now that’s it’s over I feel pretty confident saying that Casino Royale (hot take I know) is the best of the Daniel Craig Bonds mostly because it’s not at all restrained by what’s been holding these back the most. Bond doesn’t have or need an arc, or some big emotional payoff. He’s a cold, heartless killer and that’s exactly what we love about him. This is effective in bursts, when this thing works it’s works especially in that action packed first half. Classic Bond stuff, with fantastic (and fantastic looking) setpieces, Ana De Armas killing it even with just an all too brief appearance and that sense of fun that’s been missing from the Craig movies far too often. The back half is where it falls apart. On top of the over reliance on having a continuity for Craig’s tenure, there’s Rami Malik, who continues to be terrible in just about everything I’ve seen him in, as the flat villain and also just a big chunk in the middle here where this thing is flat out dead. Expository exchange after expository exchange with just the setting of the conversation being the only thing that changes.