Ah, yes, grasshopper, Bond needs a certain lightness of being, you see...
My impression? Pacing was excellent, visually nice, acting as a general rule quite good (save for Madonna. I mean, she was okay in a silly nothing little role, that could have been really fun if she could actually ACT!!! Love her music, but even Evita failed to impress me. I know, I'm a heretic, but I cannot forget Patti Lupone and the soundtrack irritated me because they substituted horns with synthesizers, especially irresponsible on "I'd Be Surprisingly Good For You." The film did receive bonus points for the addition of one song cut from the Broadway version that was on the London version, however.)
But I digress. Despite all this, and a solid ending, there were major flaws to be found.
* Pierce is starting to look a little old. Bad thing? Nah, although some shots almost made him look...gasp...paunchy. It was kind of like how I felt about the lead in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," who kept flopping between pretty and not-so-pretty (although in that flick it was charming)...okay, in this shot Pierce looks cute and boyish...oops! In this shot he's starting to resemble Roger Dodger when he was getting long in the tooth...okay, here he looks good...ewww! Who told him he should run around shirtless and with long hair and a scraggly beard?
* The film is incredibly derivative. Okay, it's hard not to see echoes of other Bond films in a movie cycle that's lasted this long. Clearly, the biggest influences were Diamonds Are Forever and On Her Majesty's Secret Service (in fact, there are even sly homages to both in separate scenes). Goldfinger's famous laser scene received a new twist, with Halle Berry being tied in the "No, Mr. Bond, you're about to die" couch. All these are well and good, BUT...the general theme of "James Bond loses his license to kill and fights against the system to catch the bad guy only to discover that M is secretly on Jimmy's side and as a result Bond receives a bunch of toys from Q" theme is getting a little stale (although LOVED the string of old Bond weaponry found in Q's one scene!)...the "Dame Judi cast as the tough old bird struggling to keep her head above water in a cold, uncaring man's world" thang is starting to get a bit old (although she plays the part reasonably well, particularly at the end of the movie. It's just a thankless role)...and who's stupid idea was it to give Montepenny a hairdo that matched Dame Judi??? Egad, what is it, the military standard for female spies in administrative positions?
And those are just shadows of the old Bond films. But dagnabbit, we get references to Dracula (Gustav Graves assistant is a modern day Renfield...either that or Riff Raff from Rocky Horror...), we get memories of the Mission Impossible movies (which I for one NEVER wish to relive, particularly the especially atrocious MI2, with a motorcycle knockdown that was sooooo long and idiotic that it reduced me to tears from laughing so hard)...we even get (and this is a case of parodying transformed into self-parody) a reference to Austin Powers, as Gustav Graves parachutes down into London sporting a (woody? no, a) Union Jack on the back of his 'chute. Yeah, baby! (Spoiler alert!) This conceit is supported by Graves' later confession to Bond that he based his swaggering persona on Bond hisself.
* Then there are the things that are just plain silly. Okay, yes, you definitely need to suspend reality when watching a Bond film, but there does come a point where the suspension is stretched so thin that you jump completely out of the film with a jolt and think, "oh, come on..." Such a scene occurs when old Piercey is suspended from a huge mound of a glacier which starts to collapse (due to Nefarious Villain's Ultimate and Highly Evil Secret Weapon), and manages to escape by surfing away from the avalanche-in-progress. Oh, please!!! And are you HONESTLY going to tell me that when Evil Main Bad Guy meets his father at the tail end of the film, after he reveals his true identity, he's going to continue talking with a ridiculous British accent? Well, perhaps if he's trying to deliberately mimic the Brits, but no, this guy's too deadly serious for that. No. No, no, no. This character would have spoken Korean. Subtitles would have been fine.
* The double entendres are starting to creak badly. Another Austin Powers thing here. Bound to make you self conscious. Apply sparingly, although do apply.
All in all: I'd give it a 6 out of 10.