Ethan Colburn’s review published on Letterboxd:
I’ve got to admit, I was slightly disappointed by Thunderball on this rewatch.
It has the usual flair of the Connery Bonds, and the opening sequence is spectacular but the central storyline is lacking. Domino is a forgettable Bond girl and the villain has an incredible look but not much interesting character development. We spent so many short stints around the evil lair, I feel like it would have been better to have one or two major sequences there instead.
The location is great, and Connery sports his best outfits of the series. It also has the SPECTRE conference room which is impossible to watch without thinking of Austin Powers. The underwater fight sequences alternate between grand and slow. It’s very impressive that they were able to pull it off but it doesn’t make much sense why both sides would set up for an underwater battle. It’s hard to make the hits feel real the same way they would on land.
Why would I rate this so high if I have so many problems with it? Because I just love James Bond. I’m not loyal to many franchises but I’m just here for whatever they turn out, and the movie still has an energy to it that is irresistible. With Connery being charming and seducing women and fighting bad guys, there is a high floor. That floor though is really going to be tested with Diamonds are Forever and Never Say Never Again, a direct remake of Thunderball. All things considered it’s kind of a middle of the road Bond with some real highlights.