“Despite being British, James Bond is, in many ways, the prototypical American action hero. From his very first movie outing in 1962, the character’s exploits set the tone for the modern action film. For four and a half decades now, he’s been blowing away baddies and bedding beauties. [. . .]
“Over the years, Bond has adjusted, if sometimes clumsily, to the current mood, and here he continues to change with the times. Just as he provided the original inspiration for the modern day spy exploits of ‘Mission: Impossible’ and ‘24,’ these newer sources now inform their progenitor. Having spawned decades of copycats that, in turn, influenced Bond’s present incarnation, you might think of this reborn 007 as his own grandkid — the child of his successors.
“Hints of both Ethan Hunt and Jack Bauer can be found throughout ‘Casino Royale,’ though they’re always served with a twist of oneupmanship, as if to reassert the primacy of Bond as the original tough guy superspy. It often seems like the movie is delivering an action hero’s challenge.”