The pre/post-title action scenes, some scenes with Dench/Green, the unusual Bond torture scene, and the last 1/2 hour hold up the rest, keeping the typical heavy plot interesting. Casino Royale could've been vastly more emotional if its final third was expanded and deepened, or it would've been a tense and thrilling action/spy film with momentum.... if its 1st two acts were cut by 35 minutes.
I used to think this was about as good as a Bond gets, on rewatch I'm not so sure. It's self-serious, dry and looks bad, which is the gift of having Deakins contribute to this series later. Not especially well-crafted or gripping, though the initial chase sequence does the job. I would argue history has proven this was a misguided mood for the series to pursue.
There is no subtlety or irony in Bond, there is no charm or soul in Craig. The romance here is quite credible and gracious though. Charming early exchanges between Craig and Eva Green. Is perhaps Mads Mikkelsen one of the most unappealing villains in the franchise to date? That game of poker had no tension. Someone should have looked under the sleeves... folks were loaded!