Harlan Thater’s review published on Letterboxd:
Sam Mendes' expectedly fantastic direction and Roger Deakins' cinematography are the only things that really elevate this, because between the incomprehensible villain and poor writing I'm feeling pretty blah on this one.
The whole "MI6 is being taken infiltrated and taken down!" plot, although cliché, could've been at least kinda cool, but Javier Bardem's villain was so awful that it took away any impact that could've had. His plan was so convoluted that it was just silly. And the big climax where they go back to Bond's childhood home, an attempt to add a more personal element to the film and give more layers to his character, was not only boring story-wise, but pointless and superficial thematically.
Speaking of superficial, the action in this movie was so far from what a "serious" Bond movie should be. Yes, it was cool and fun to watch, but there was no subtly whatsoever, which I think is part of what's so impressive about the previous two films. If I wanted big, flashy scenes of a man driving a tractor on top of a train and crushing cars and fighting in pits with Komodo dragons I'd go see, like... any other action movie. Which is what this is: just another action movie in the guise of a Bond film. It's missing the suaveness that's so central to the character, the sense of purpose within the action and the story, and isn't nearly as smart as it thinks it is.