Having done villains last week, let’s take a look at heroes.
Okay, James Bond is something of an anti-hero as established from the get-go in that “you’ve had your six” moment in Dr. No. But still, he is working for Queen and Country as well as saving the world (sometimes as a sad clown).
This is a fun overview of how James Bond has changed with the times that Fandom released just before No Time to Die, clocking in at just over 16 minutes.
The obvious question of “Who is my favorite Bond?” is hard to pin down.
Sure I could go for Sean Connery, something High Fidelity Jack Black would call a conventional, safe pick. Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice are among my favorite of the Bond films, but for Connery himself, I find I enjoy him more in films like The Man Who Would be King and The Hunt for Red October. And it’s hard to choose with the other Bonds because their respective Bond actors have both good and definitely not-so-good films.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is great for both Diana Rigg and the downbeat ending, but George Lazenby was a one-shot bond. I love Timothy Dalton in The Living Daylights. It has one of my favorite all-time Bond cold opens and has that amazing kitchen fight scene which is gripping even sans Bond, plus one of the best instances of that bizarre 80s trope of main characters that are female cellists (that’s a post for another time). But License to Kill just doesn’t have that Bond panache I’m used to… or maybe it’s just I can’t take Robert Davi seriously as a Bond villain since he’d already been defeated by the Goonies.
Meanwhile, back in the Roger Moore era, Moonraker has way too much panache (I still remember my brother and I being gobsmacked at the attempt to put space opera “pew pew” action into Bond). Pierce Brosnan proved that everything is better with tanks, including chase scenes, in Goldeneye, but I wasn’t really up to Die Another Day. That leads us to Daniel Craig and his bravura first entry, Casino Royale, which, it should be noted, is the only Bond film that’s made into my Favorite 50 for the past 15 years or so. Skyfall and No Time to Die are also immensely satisfying. So is Craig my favorite Bond? Am I simply going with the times? My first thought is no as I preferred Connery to Moore back in the 80s, but for now I’ll go with the contentious order of Craig, Connery, Dalton, Lazenby, with Brosnan and Moore tied in last place. And just to add to the heresy, I was this close to placing Dalton before Connery… and if he had had, say, one other good Bond outing, I would have.