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. The 2nd half is centered around a dull poker game (!) and making the normally fantastic actor, Mikkelsen, forgettable. Casino Royale would've been a tense and emotional action/spy film with momentum.... if 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!
Makes far more sense in the post-Spectre Bond landscape, and is a more enjoyable and interesting film for it. The early scenes between Daniel Craig and Eva Green are some of the best stuff in Bond history, as is the post-credits foot chase. A bit dry and humourless for my tastes, but still tremendously enjoyable.
Rewatching "Casino Royale" in preparation for "Spectre," I was once again taken in by the film's spectacular action sequences (director Martin Campbell is operating at McTiernan levels here), in-depth characterization, and stellar performances. Who knew the best way to revitalize James Bond for the 21st century was to give him a soul? For my money, this remains Daniel Craig's finest outing in the role.