We Don’t Need More James Bond

To say that James Bond is an icon of cinema would be an understatement — he’s done much more than inspire the creation of Indiana Jones and change the way people order martinis. He’s become the leading man of one of the longest-running movie franchises of all time, only to be bested by the ​*Godzilla*​ movies and the ​*Carry On* films. However, with ​*No Time to Die​* releasing in April 2020, it might be time for us to break away from this bond.

Beginning from literary roots, James Bond was the brainchild of British novelist Ian Fleming, first appearing in ​*Casino Royale​*, the 1953 literary basis for the 1967 film. He was characterized as a smooth-talking, intelligent, and savvy special agent with a weakness for dry martinis and pretty women. For some people, he’s basically Barney Stinson from ​*How I Met Your Mother* with no wingman. And for decades, moviegoers have adored this onscreen persona with their hearts and souls. Some people love Bond so much that film-makers like Spielberg and de Palma have used Agent 007 as the basis for their own characters, like Indiana Jones from the titular series and Ethan Hunt from ​*Mission Impossible*​.

On the other hand, many of today’s popular films have taken significant deviations from the fantasy-like trope that Bond has presented. For evidence, look no further than the nominees for Best Picture for 2020, and possibly some of their leading roles. Films like ​Joker, Parasite,​ and ​*The Irishman*​ all have presented characters that audiences find to be more realistic, even finding hatred for them at times. While superhero, larger-than-life characters still rule the box office, much like Avengers: Endgame did in 2019, they seem to be critically usurped by the imperfect, flawed, and much more realistic protagonists.

In addition, many of James Bond’s movies have become rather problematic in today’s day and age, mostly due to a renewed focus on women’s rights. The term ‘Bond girl’ went from being a symbol of glamour to a symbol of feminist regression, and as long as James Bond films keep treating women the same way in films like ​*Goldfinger* or ​*Spectre​*, there might be no hope for No Time to Die​ in the critics’ books or the reviewers’ blogs.

From the surface, the trailer of ​No​ ​Time to Die seemed to be taking a different lens from the Bond films’ usual plotline. This 2020 flick presents a new plotline of Bond’s female companion hiding a dark secret, but this seems like a sorry attempt to allure viewers who claim to want ‘nuanced female characters’. Besides this, ​*No Time to Die​* relies on the same old spectacle of explosions and villainous banter, rather than presenting something novel.

This isn’t to say that James Bond’s films can’t be enjoyed as classics from time to time. No matter what, they will always remain as pieces of cinematic history. However, ​*No Time to Die*​ doesn’t seem like a film with high hopes given its time of release and seemingly unoriginal plot. I certainly wouldn’t trust this man with a license to kill.