Well, I think over the years I've seen every James Bond film at one point or another, or pretty close to it.
I had no idea what to expect of this film or the new Bond. I had seen a few previews and was mildly interested. But I came out a big fan of the latest film, which brings new life to the genre.
That being said, I think Daniel Craig is probably the best of all the actors to play James Bond so far. This movie is better and different than the Bond movies of the past 10 or 15 years. It is an origin story - it is about James Bond's first mission as 007. It shows him as being more physical than other Bonds and more human - and that makes him much more intriguing. This version Bond, said to be truer to Ian Fleming's vision, is also capable of more intelligent dialogue. Mr. Craig is a talented actor, and it shows.
The "Bond girl" in this film is also different than others. She is more intelligent than most, contributes more to the plot, and actually has a genuine emotional impact on Bond, although I found the love story to have a bit of weakness to it. It wouldn't be a James Bond movie if the women weren't all "eye candy" - the objectification of women is toned down here compared to some previous films as the women are somewhat more empowered, and double entendres are at a minimum here, but there is a certain expectation of Bond movies that does not go unmet.
"M"'s interaction with Bond in this film is far more interesting than any I can remember from other films. Dame Judi Densch actually has at least a little occasion to demonstrate her acting ability with a real character this time.
The villain in this one, however, was weak and uninspiring, and only mildly interesting. He wasn't the real villain anyway, but by the end of the film Bond seems ready to move up the ladder to tackle some of the bigger fish.
Techno gimmicks and gadgets are not the drivers in this story - a few are present but they are appropriate rather than expensive attempts to wow an audience with the latest and greatest. Instead, the audience is quickly grabbed by a stunning opening action sequence including a memorable display of free running, and the action remains very good throughout.
There are some slow parts in the film and a few mini-twists that might strike as ridiculous but nothing to make you look at your watch or not buy in to the story as a whole. This is a satisfying movie and I hope to see another one with the new Bond Daniel Craig, building on a good beginning here. If you haven't been a fan of other Bond movies, this one could change your mind - unless your disdain is in response to the omnipresent sex and violence of the genre - in that case, stay away.
PG-13 is an appropriate rating, although there are a few particular scenes of violence that are not for the squeamish. Nudity (in a particular Abu-Ghraib-ish torture scene, of Daniel Craig - not so much of the females beyond the typical skin-baring $1000 prom dresses), sexual situations, and violence make this, of course, not a "family film".