There’s a cynical way to approach this and a ridiculous way.
Let’s start with the cynical.
It takes so little time for Madeleine to fall in love with James because this film sucks at character development and relies upon legend of James Bond, the mystique that “All women love James Bond.”
Really, the film does little to advance the character of M, or Moneypenny, or Q. It has no development of Bautista. And barely anything for Chrstoph Waltz as Franz Oberhauser, also known as Ernst Stavro Blofeld, also known as HAS TOO MANY NAMES. What do we know about Franz? He runs Spectre. How he got to run Spectre???? No idea! He knew Bond when they were kids, then murdered his dad because his dad liked James. Okay. He’s also been the dude behind every plot Bond’s encountered over the four movies. We never see him really have an emotional reaction to anyone or anything other than James. We don’t know why people respect him. We don’t know why he should even be a threat to James. If that’s the lack of characterization for the main villain who is supposed to be the Ultimate Bad Guy for the franchise….why would we expect Madeleine to have an actual reason for falling in love with James Bond after 48 hours of knowing him?
I told you: cynical.
The ridiculous way of answering this question.
Spectre goes out of its way to have Franz HAS TOO MANY NAMES mention that Madeleine would have been perfect for James because she’s the daughter of an assassin, so who better to appreciate James Bond, famous assassin?
That’s true. She did have an assassin/spy/killer guy for a father. She also disassociated herself from her father. And that means we can throw around a very stupid term that I hate to even use but don’t know what else to call it…sigh. Madeleine has daddy issues.
She never had a healthy relationship with her father. They were estranged for years before his death. The only reason she begins to think of her dad again is because James waltzes in and says he promised her dad he would protect her. That’s a parental thing to do. She’s suddenly the daughter being looked after by her dad. Except her dad is dead, and, in his place, is this hunk of an older man who is in a similar line of work as her dad. Not only is it a similar line of work, James saves Madeleine from assassins. He protects her.
I mean, but maybe after all of that she wasn’t thinking about the father-daughter dynamic and wishing she could repair the damage between her and her dead father. But what do you think she’s thinking about after she and James end up in the exact hotel room that Madeleine used to go with her mother and father. Yeesh. The exact hotel room that she and her father used to return to year after year. Once again, James is acting like a father surrogate.
Oh, there’s more. Madeleine tells James she once, as a young girl, protected her dad from an assassin by shooting the assassin. Damn. What happens a few minutes later? Bautista pulls a Randy Orton and appears out of nowhere, starts beating the hell out of James. James is about to die. And then Madeleine, just like all those years before, shoots the assassin. James has time to recover and savagely dispense with Bautista.
Finally, we have Franz trying to show Madeleine the video of her dad killing himself. And James is in the video! So she gets to legitimately watch James saying he’ll save her and her dad trusting James. Basically her dad passing on guardianship duties to James. To reinforce that, James tells Madeleine to look at him, not the video. And she does. Instead of watching her dad shoot himself (sad), she stares at James (much better).
So while we could chalk up Madeleine’s feelings for James being lazy writing, we could make the argument that it’s not lazy writing but actually a very calculated attempt to create an arc where a female character has a severely damaged relationship with her father, then she meets an older, elegant assassin who reminds her of her father, then she finds catharsis to father-daughter relationship by having a romantic relationship with the father figure.
I’m not trying to say this is a good or bad thing. I can already heard people saying I’m reading way too into the movie. And I can already hear people yelling at me that this is a sexist interpretation. Maybe she’s a strong woman who recognized the strength and goodness inherent to James Bond and loves him for him?
That could be absolutely true!
But if that’s the case: I think Spectre did a bad job of developing it. Regardless of interpretation, I think Spectre did a bad job of developing the romance (not to mention the plot and characters). It’s just that there’s also evidence to make a case that maybe they wanted Madeleine to have issues with her father that led to her feeling immediate and intense romantic desires for James Bond. And that’s alright too, since I think, in one way or another, we’re all susceptible to immediate and intense romantic desires for Daniel Craig.