Following the triumph of Skyfall, the fourth Daniel Craig Bond was always going to have a hard time living up to the hype, but when Spectre premiered a week early in the UK the reviews were all very positive. The release in the US saw a dampening of enthusiasm and for many the film ranked as the worst of the series so far. I would be one of those but on rewatching my opinion has and has not changed.
It was the bad luck of the James Bond series to always be in some kind of limbo. There were court cases, studio disputes, writers' strikes and the bankruptcy of MGM. And yet these delays could have good effects and with Skyfall the Bond series produced its most critically and commercially successful film.
Quantum of Solace is one of my favourite Bond films. And I know that isn't a popular opinion. On first watching it, I - along with everyone else - was disappointed. Casino Royale had set up the character so well and seemed so measured and by comparison, its follow up felt too influenced by the Bourne films, way too frenetically edited and had a plot which got lost in the ricochets and machine gunning. But re-watching significantly changed my opinion.
With the new Bond film in 2006, it was necessary for the franchise not just to recast Bond but to some extent to reinvent him. Martin Campbell came in to direct his second film after overtures from Quentin Tarantino were rejected. The idea was to take Bond back to the original Ian Fleming conception with his very first novel Casino Royale.
One aspect of Pierce Brosnan's tenure as James Bond is the variety behind the camera. Each of his four films had a different director behind the camera. Martin Campbell was followed by Roger Spottiswoode and Michael Apted who all maintained a fairly consistent aesthetic. But Lee Tamahori brought to Die Another Day a new vision which sought to update Bond and which unfortunately had the effect of creating the worst and most dated looking of Brosnan's reign.