I feel like this is a pretty contentious film within the Bond franchise. Some people love this film, some people hate it. I, myself, enjoy it.
My thing about the Bond movies is — I don’t like when they’re just another action movie with Bond put over it (Tomorrow Never Dies) or when it seems like they’re hardly trying because it’s a by-the-numbers Bond movie (For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy). I want something that makes it enjoyable to me as a Bond movie. And with A View to a Kill, that was Christopher Walken. For Moonraker — it’s Jaws. The fact that so much of this movie is basically Bond and Jaws having a bunch of showdowns and chases is pretty great, and is a great substitute for all those scenes that slow down all the later Moore films. (Seriously, think about all the films he made after this — they’re all so slow, and the henchmen are horrible.) That’s what keeps this film interesting to me.
Plus, I don’t mind them being in space. I really don’t. I don’t even mind that, in order to cash in on the space and sci-fi craze, they copied the basic villain plot from The Spy Who Loved Me. I just want something that’s interesting to me as a Bond fan. And what I see is a classic Bond plot, a classic Bond progression (some parts, like the Venice section, don’t work at all, but him on Drax’s estate is all classic Bond), a return of an all-time great franchise character, and some gorgeous images along the way (and space, which to me, works as a location. It’s not like it’s completely out of the realm of this franchise to do something like this. The only things that fall flat are the obvious moments that are trying to be Star Wars).
I don’t really see much downside to this movie. Clearly it’s not a franchise best, but it’s completely serviceable, ranging on good. I would honestly put it over every movie I ranked below this, every time.