When I first saw previews for the new Bond flick, I had trouble buying into Daniel Craig as the new 007. While Pierce Brosnan isn't a remarkable actor, I had gotten used to seeing him in the last few installments of the series. All of those films were fairly entertaining, with Goldeneye the best of the Brosnan era. But whereas Brosnan played Bond with a smartass confidence, Craig takes a much more raw approach which reveals more character than Brosnan ever did. Brosnan fulfilled a stereotype and caricature, never really providing any depth to the character. In Casino Royale, Craig is believable as a young, brash MI6 agent starting out his career, with a few missteps along the way to becoming an elite secret agent. Complex action scenes and fancy gadgets take a seat in favor of plot development during which the hero and villians take turns trying to outmaneuver each other. This was effectively accomplished in the setting of a super high-stakes poker tournament with millions on the line. It was good to see poker playing such a large role, as the poker scenes were interesting; several hands between Bond and the villian, Le Chiffre, are played out to dramatic effect.
As far as action movies go, Casino Royale is well done and worth seeing. With a new Bond on board, it looks like the franchise is headed in the right direction.