Bond Films Have Lost the Point of Fleming's Original Concept

Bond Films Have Lost the Point of Fleming's Original Concept
Image credit: Legion-Media

Daniel Craig has retired from his role as James Bond following 2021's No Time to Die, having played the iconic British Secret Service agent in five of the series' 27 films.

After decades of evolution to the character, some fans believe newer versions of the character have lost the original idea of who James Bond is meant to be.

Bond first appeared in Ian's Fleming 1953 novel Casino Royale, with his first cinematic appearance in 1962's Dr. No. He was written and originally portrayed as a seemingly invincible agent and a mysteriously suave womanizer. The original films were fun and light-hearted, with Bond getting into almost cartoonish hijinks against maniacal, weird villains who wanted nothing short of world domination.

The recent films have walked away from this, putting Bond into more realistic danger in a far more serious tone. He could get hurt, bleed, and be tortured; the audience may wonder if he'll even survive.

Some fans believe that the Craig films are so unlike the original idea for the character, the filmmakers have missed the point. After all, "Bond movies are meant to be silly."

Dissenting fans believed that this is the natural progression of film. Modern audiences no longer have an interest in invincible characters. They've been subjected to heroes who are flawed and vulnerable, characters who must pay a price for being heroic. While the original films – which almost seemed to mock its own ridiculousness – did well in their day, that type of movie wouldn't be appreciated by viewers of today.

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One fan said that Bond movies don't need to have any one style. It was based on an idea of a skilled agent who has a charming, gentlemanly charisma. That's the base of the character; everything else will change by era. So long as the current generation thinks he's cool, it's a good James Bond.

The newest films still have their humor, it's just not as wacky. They have their psychotic villains hell-bent on world domination, they're just not as fantastical. They still have Bond charming a cliché femme fatale, just without the misogyny. Fans in support of the recent direction of Bond say that the heart of the character is still there, just updated for a modern fan.

The real reason Bond has lasted this long, fans say, is precisely because they've been able to mold the movies into whatever genre of film is popular. They're able to evolve along with audience tastes.

With Craig out as Bond, audiences can fully expect another new take on the same idea of 007.