My “problem” with the Craig films (to the extent I have one) is that all the “drama” and “character development” and what have you is shoe-horned into a formula that’s still as bonkers as it ever was. Bond still does things that cannot happen in the real world (like surviving that fall in SF) and the plots are just as illogical and full of holes as ever. The only difference is now we notice because they’re so pretentious instead of just saying, “let’s have some mindless fun.”
It took me a long time to warm to Tom Cruise, and no franchise could have started out further on my bad side than the first installment of M:I, but what I love about that franchise is that it manages to take things just seriously enough to create suspense while somehow acknowledging throughout that Job 1 is to dazzle, thrill and amaze. No Bond film will ever seriously compete for the title of Greatest Dramatic Film Ever, but for a long time, they were the undisputed masters of big-screen thrills and adventure. It’d be great to see them back on top, but in all honesty, I can’t imagine a path that would get them there.
What’s interesting is both franchises are reactions to “Classic Bond.” M:I is all about “Look, we can out-Bond Bond!” and the Bond series has become, “Forget what you knew: Bond films are an acting showcase, now.” I can enjoy both in their way, but neither, for me, escapes the shadow of the greats that went before.