If Casino Royale is a “reinvention” of the long-decaying 007 franchise, it’s not simply because it jettisons the high-tech gadgets, tongue-in-cheek puns, and cartoonish villains that have long defined the series, but rather because it’s the first Bond film to actually prize three-dimensional characters and moral dilemmas over action-film flash. Of course, there’s plenty of the latter in Martin Campbell’s high-wire spy flick, the apex of which is a blistering parkour-tinged opening set piece that speeds through a construction site and a foreign embassy. Still, what gives this prequel about Bond’s initial assignment as a 007 its weight is a strict attention to his development from brutish killer to suave (albeit nonetheless rough-around-the-edges) assassin and the ethical transformation that comes along with it. Via his relationship with beautiful Vesper Lynd (a superior Eva Green) while on a mission to nab terrorism-funding banker Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) by beating him at a high-stakes poker game held at the titular Montenegro casino, Bond not only learns the art of restraint and humility, but also the terrible consequences of the life he’s accepted – one in which emotional attachment and trust are luxuries incompatible with his chosen espionage profession. Such facts have always colored Bond’s adventures, and yet Campbell’s rugged, no-nonsense handling of the material gives this origin story a somber, melancholy heart sorely lacking from Pierce Brosnan’s jokey, robotic outings. What finally makes Casino Royale perhaps the best Bond film ever, however, is new 007 Daniel Craig, whose battering ram physique – epitomized by his shaking off a blow like a bull after suffering a tremendous fall during the intro chase – and matching disposition help the actor tap into the fundamentally cold-hearted, vicious nature of his murderous character. Craig’s secret agent is a borderline psychopath with a romantic heart he can’t shield from injury, and by not caring about whether his martinis are shaken or stirred, or about whether his tux becomes sullied while he dirties his hands, the actor makes us – for the first time in decades – actually care about Bond.