Many people compare the direction the Bond series is taking to the Jason Bourne movies, because the action is stronger, dryer, and more realistic. Many make a quick parallel between the two characters and conclude by saying that now Bond is just a copy of Bourne. The inspiration in the new direction is evident, and yet Bond is not just a copy of Bourne. There is something in Bond’s character that makes him, and the films he appears in, original and exciting. He is a rich, long history, dating all the way back to the sixties, making us look at him as someone we know by heart. And yet for the first time, he seems like an unpredictable character. Never has the super-spy been so human, so understandable, and at the same time so lethal.
Daniel Craig is no stranger to that new Bond fascination. In Casino Royale, his charisma was impressive and offered a new face for 007, one we did not expect. This time, the phase of acceptance of that new face has passed. And it takes only a few minutes to realize that Craig’s appropriation of the character is definitive. The British actor brings more to the character than any actor before him (yes, even Connery). He has strength and charisma for sure, but it does not stop here. Craig elevates Bond to melancholy, to bitterness. Bond, that white hero of the Crown of England, has never been so gray, so tainted with a sense of tragedy. The last sequence of the film translates this feeling perfectly. Just like this beautiful opera sequence, in the middle of the movie, orchestrated with Maestri by Forster.
I hesitate to say that from this point on, James Bond is complete and ready for steady adventures. Because Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace may have forged a new Bond, but what they (and Daniel Craig) have forged as well is the sense that from now on, you can never know what to expect from James Bond.
4 / 5 stars
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