It is really hard to step into the shoes of a giant. James Bond is a British legend, and when Daniel Craig took over he was immediately crowned the Bond for the 21st century. ‘Casino Royale’ took the series back to the beginning, ‘Quantum of Solace’ was more or less a misstep, and this Bond movie takes us to a Bond who is later in his career. The aged hero, a bit too old to pass the muster physically, but who still has his wiles about him.
The movie opens with yet another spectacular chase scene, with Bond and another agent, Eve (played by Naomie Harris) chasing a bad guy who has stolen a computer hard drive that has all of the names of all of Britain’s undercover agents on it and their cover stories. Okay, this is a major act of stupidity that MI-6 would allow someone to have all this information on a laptop computer—what were they thinking? Complete idiocy, but you have to accept that to move on.
Bond is nearing the end of his career as an agent, but M (still played by Judi Dench) is also on her last legs. She is less of a mother figure and more of a ruthless witch in this—she seems very unsafe to work for. Not the woman who will bring her agents home, but rather the woman who will leave them out in the cold. Not even an ambulance for the wounded. The bad guy in this one is a man from her past, out to bring her down. He is played by Javier Bardem, and while he is less scary than the role he played in ‘No Country for Old Men’, he is still fairly creepy (something about the blonde hair adds a convincing air of menace).
All does not end well here, in the 50th anniversary of the James Bond series, but Daniel Craig comes off both as a hero and as a man. His bond is more human than superhero, and that is a very nice turn of events.