Coming to terms with James Bond’s flawed past — as a fan and as a critic


Enlarge this image

Daniel Craig as James Bond in No Time to Die.

Nicola Dove/MGM/EON productions


hide caption

toggle caption

Nicola Dove/MGM/EON productions


Movie Reviews
Daniel Craig outshines ‘No Time To Die’ in his final turn as James Bond

Facing Bond’s questionable roots

I know it’s tough for some people to consider that a character they have loved for years, even decades, might also be the embodiment of something pernicious as white privilege. And I’m sure some fans may react by denigrating me or my ideas (or by saying, what took you so long?).

But I think this is an important notion worth exploring. Because it is something I have confronted many times as a Black media critic who loves superheroes and super spies.

Enlarge this image

Lashana Lynch at the world premiere of No Time to Die in September.

Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for EON Productions


hide caption

toggle caption

Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for EON Productions

Enlarge this image

Sean Connery and Honor Blackman filming a fight scene in Goldfinger in 1964.

Mirrorpix/Getty Images


hide caption

toggle caption

Mirrorpix/Getty Images


Movies
Daniel Craig is the bookend Bond, giving 007’s story a beginning — and an end

Bond as a vision of urbane cool and male privilege

Bond films have always offered a vision of urbane cool – a British agent who is in command and at ease in any environment across the world. He transported fans to faraway lands they’d likely never visit, to provide a taste of cultures they might never otherwise experience.

But he also walks the world as if it were made to be run and ruled by wealthy, capable white men. And that is not a vision that Craig’s Bond has quite managed to shake.

Enlarge this image

Daniel Craig in Casino Royale.

MGM Studios/EON


hide caption

toggle caption

MGM Studios/EON


What’s Making Us Happy: Recommendations From ‘Pop Culture Happy Hour’
What’s making us happy: A guide for your weekend watching, listening and reading

Can a new Bond actor subvert the formula?

As producers on the Bond films consider who will follow Craig, I believe these questions I’m asking may complicate that choice. You can’t just cast a Black actor like Idris Elba or Regé-Jean Page as Bond and pretend he can have the same adventures. Or that he will stand for the same things.

A Black man who serves as an undercover assassin for the British government brings a whole new set of subtexts. Yet, casting a white actor like Tom Hardy or Henry Cavill doesn’t seem to meet the moment, either. And there is a big part of me that would love to see a bold, young talent like I May Destroy You star Michaela Coel take on this challenge – as both a writer and star.

Ultimately, whoever takes up the mantle as the new James Bond faces a challenge beyond six decades of film history and Craig’s own masterful performance. They will have to find a new vision of Bond that puts even more distance between a contemporary version of the character and its long legacy of elevating a white, male hero over everyone else.

admin

Добавить комментарий