The revolution for the next James Bond films
James Bond, immortalized by Sean Connery as the famous MI6 spy Ian Fleming created in 1962’s Dr. No, has always been one of pop culture’s most renowned womanizers. For most of his 25 films, 007 has numerous one-night affairs with stereotypical Bond females. Most of the time, they’re portrayed as stereotypical lemme Fatales, superficial field contacts who fall for him immediately or random bystanders who meet an untimely end. It is not only about time that this tired, misogynistic practice is abandoned when the next Bond is brought to life, but the most recent Bond films have laid the groundwork for this to happen.
No Time To Die makes clear that James Bond, both the character and the series, has matured past the crass sexism that characterized so much of his earlier imagery. In No Time to Die, Bond brings Nomi (Lashana Lynch), an MI6 colleague vying to replace 007, back to his Jamaican lair for what they both assume will be a one-night encounter. Bond is taken aback by Nomi’s lack of sexual interest, saying, “Well, that’s not the first thing I imagined you’d take off.” after she removes her wig and explains the real reason she’s hunted him down.
Bond is surprised, but the young field agent Paloma (Ana De Armas) he encounters before a mission surprises him even more. Bond says, “Don’t you think we ought to get to know each other a bit better before we, uh,” after Paloma takes him somewhere private and tells him to undress for a better disguise. Paloma, played by De Armas, bursts out laughing since she never considered sleeping with Bond till now. Bond’s (Ryan Reynolds) feelings for Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) are best preserved for later in the film because they have more potential for development as a character and as a plot point.
In Bond 26, there have to be actual romantic subplots.
Quick affairs with a “Pussy Galore” from Goldfinger or a “Dr. Molly Goodhead” from Moonraker have largely been removed from more contemporary James Bond flicks, and for a good cause. Bond’s deeper commitments to women provide richer material for his stories. Casino Royale, often considered the best Bond film, introduces Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), a sly British Treasury agent who is every bit Bond’s peer before the two falls in love. The chemistry between Bond and the Bond Girl-subverting Vesper in Casino Royale is not only a film highlight but also a thematic through-line that Craig uses to further develop Bond in each of his five flicks.
As early as On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Bond’s relationship with Tracy di Vicenzo is a defining milestone in his fictional biography. Bond resigns from MI6 to marry Tracy, but their time together is cut tragically short when she is ambushed and killed by SPECTRE agents. As the series progresses, this one incident of lost love becomes a foundational building element referenced in every subsequent Bond performance, culminating in its overt mirroring in Craig’s final Bond performance, with Bond’s death in No Time to Die intended to safeguard Swann and their kid.
Adaptations to Bond’s personality are welcome.
The capacity of James Bond to evolve with the times is a significant factor in the series’ longevity. The unparalleled humanization of 007. as depicted in the films starring Daniel Craig. is one such example. Vesper Lynd, Madeleine Swann, and even non-love interests like Judi Dench’s M in Skyfall are all examples of strong female characters who provide agency within their narrative and allow for much of the character growth to occur.
Although the blatant chauvinism of previous Bond performances can be seen as a unique quality, there is no need for it to remain so. Since the actor playing James Bond is constantly evolving, there is no need for a fixed set of characteristics identifying the character. After Daniel Craig’s tenure as 007, the next generation of Bond films will inevitably face the pressure to further modernize the character by emphasizing the significance of Bond’s interactions with women.