In Spectre, Craig's rather tortured take on the role, while retaining the grit of the actor's canny interpretation of Ian Fleming's literary conception, relaxes a bit into a suaver sort of self-confidence. He even exhibits a newfound compassion and sense of proportion.
If history repeats itself, something out there to be released this year will change the game. If the pattern holds we will have a major smash hit that will not only make a lot of money for its studio but will also blaze a trail in terms of what the next decade of blockbusters will look like.
What says Christmas Spirit more than nuclear holocaust, life-or-death chases in an automated car park, and scaling the world's tallest building? Maybe that's why Paramount scheduled the release of Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol for this most festive of seasons.
MI: Ghost Protocol is fun in the right places, funny in the right places, and the skillful dispatching of returned and recruited personnel, onscreen and off, points the way to several more entries in this series before it ever need worry about self-destructing.