First Hit: Liked the opening scenes, absolutely cringed at the overblown banal opening credits and, while this film was generally more serious and less tongue-in-cheek as the original Bond films, it works well enough.
Bond (Daniel Craig) is working on his own. He’s working from a brief video clip clue from his now deceased boss “M” (Judi Dench). With this clue he’s off to find and eliminate the core of the problem that is haunting the MI-6 team while his current boss “M” (Ralph Fiennes) is not supporting him – officially.
The double “0” form of fighting crime is being phased out according to “C” (Andrew Scott) with new technology which is being created and financed by the guy Bond is after; the wickedly sarcastic and masochistic Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz). Supporting Bond in is mission are “Q” (Ben Whishaw), Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and a reluctant Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux).
The film is a travelogue, going to many different countries and climates with Bond nattily dress for each place and occasion. The beauty and intensity of the various venues were expertly caught and this really adds to the film. However, one of the hallmark behaviors of the early bond films was an underlying level of tongue-in-cheek comments by Bond and the other characters that kept the audience bemused while watching violent struggles, things being blown up, and people being shot; were few and far between.
Craig is great as Bond mainly because he carries intensity, physicality, and intelligence, all wrapped up in one package. Waltz is playing the same type of character he’s played in other films. He does this role well but it doesn’t bode well when the audience isn’t surprised by the villain. Whishaw is really wonderful in his smallish role as "Q" (Quartermaster). It is nice to see his role expanded even as the technology he presents becomes more interesting. Harris is very cool and centering as Moneypenny. Fiennes role grows as the film reaches its conclusion and it helps the film. Seydoux is very good as someone who reluctantly ends up being protected by Bond and as a love interest. Scott is strong as the arrogant young tech savvy guy that lacks experience. John Logan and Neil Purvis wrote this slightly over complicated script. Sam Mendes did a wonderful job of putting Bond in great scenes and venues and making the script work.
Overall: This film, although good, seems to stray from past unconvincingly.