Time To Die
There's some dismay on social media over the retirement of James Bond, in favour of a black woman, in the upcoming No Time To Die. And it's not just old white men that are offended by the retconning of a decades-old, beloved franchise character for the sake of progressivism and virtue signalling.
I can understand the criticism. The revisionism is petty, but it is what it is; with a blockbuster completed and ready for release, it isn't going to change. Auric Goldfinger's expectation has now, finally, been met.
Despite having looked forward to Daniel Craig's final outing as 007, I think I'll give this one a miss. I have no interest in agenda-driven narratives or identity politicking. Craig's tenure has been a mixed bag; overall not bad, certainly better than Moore's, and I'll leave it with SPECTRE. It's not the greatest entry in the franchise, but it ends with Bond metaphorically walking off into the sunset with the girl. And that's good enough.
As I understand it, however, Lashana Lynch isn't going to be the new Bond, her character will only be the new 007. Which leaves me wondering how the franchise will be referred to in future. Colloquially, we don't refer to
007 films, we talk about, anticipate, and enjoy
Bond films. And what will the franchise be without
Bond, James Bond?
Dubblo-seven just doesn't roll off the tongue in the same way.
As for complaints on social media that No Time To Die disdains Sir Sean Connery's legacy in the year of his passing, I'd say that, if it were at all possible, Moonraker and Octopussy would have achieved that feat long ago. He almost achieved it himself, with Never Say Never Again. They failed because his earlier films stand as the classics that all others are judged by; and, at least until now, have been found wanting. Virtue signalling at the close of one of the franchise's lesser phases isn't going to change that.
Whether or not this is the death knell for the franchise remains to be seen. Those of us who enjoy the previous entries need not worry about its future, or even whether it has one. After all, its glory days have long been in the past, and there are plenty of classic Bond films in my collection to fall back on. The IP owner, EON Productions along with MGM, makes the decisions. It's they that stand to gain or lose by how they've judged the market.
A case can be made that the franchise's golden era ended with On Her Majesty's Secret Service, since when it's been in decline. After that, the stories became ever more bombastic, fanciful, and less grounded. MI6 secret agents simply don't draw attention to themselves by driving tanks through Moscow, or shooting up London.
I enjoyed Timothy Dalton's outing, though.