Rafael Jovine’s review published on Letterboxd:
Right off the bat, we finally learn what's James Bond's kryptonite: modern massage tables.
So fun fact: I once planned to do a whole Bond marathon, but I only got as far as Goldfinger and the last two Craig films, so most of this run will be me watching most of the films in the series for the first time.
Another fun fact is that this was supposed to be the first installment in the franchise, but legal troubles delayed the filming and release. And actually, this is one of those cases where someone else's greed actually helped the other party out because, while this film is pretty good, Dr. No is a much more effective introduction to our agent. I'm not sure if the script would have been different, but the movie feels more like a continuation than an opening.
It's no surprise that Connery keeps killing it as the film focuses more on his role as a spy and throws some good action to keep things lively. Celi as Largo made for a very decent villain, although I must admit I didn't think he was as dangerous as he could have been.
With his last outing in the franchise, Young managed to blend the grounded elements he somewhat forged into the franchise with Hamilton's bigger approach with mixed results. Personally, I think he succeeded more in the former than the latter. For me, the primary fault was the excessive amount of underwater sequences that lasted too long as well as being badly shot.
All in all, even though it doesn't reach the same level of success as its previous installment and its 2 hours+ runtime (the first in the series) did not really resonate with me and felt a bit excessive. As most critics at the time put it, this is indeed a very welcome addition to the series due to such a terrific (and first) use of widescreen Panavision that helps you better stabilize and experience the BAFTA-nominated production design and overall setting.
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