Immediately after criticizing Daniel Craig for “not aging well,” Teresa Mull admits that “Skyfall was one of the most successful installments of the Bond series…”
While director Sam Mendes, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, and Javier Bardem all deserve credit for this success, Daniel Craig is the Bond of the project.
He is the primary force in the film because Craig has successfully reinterpreted Ian Fleming’s creation to appeal once again to many audience members, while preserving the integrity of the character.
To start, I shall exclaim that I love Sean Connery. He is in fact my favorite Bond. However, looking for Connery today is like a major political party adopting the public policy agenda of a 30-year old presidency.
Sean Connery (1962-1971) was the first Bond, and while he balanced the cold, ruthless aggression of the character with a subtle–that being the key word–sense of humor, Connery had no predecessors. Thus, he had more flexibility to shape the character for the screen.
Yet the actor couldn’t retain the role forever. Much has transpired in the Bond-verse since Connery left the franchise.
The Bonds between Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan (1995-2004), represented primarily by Roger Moore (1973-1985), lost the key balance of cold ruthlessness with subtle, suave humor.
I know for a fact that Ms. Mull has never seen a James Bond film featuring Roger Moore. If you haven’t either, I point you to this two-minute clip of his best one liners. The first two are sufficient to show that in the post-Connery era, Bond became an overbearingly self-amused character trained to spin one liners and inflate enemies with compressed air bullets rather than protect Queen and Country.
As for Brosnan, while he provided Craig with an appropriate starting point, the actor peaked in Goldeneye. From there, the franchise drowned in cheesiness, ultimately sinking to Die Another Day’s plot of evil North Koreans razing Earth with a satellite made of conflict diamonds.
Producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson needed to cast an actor who could once again fairly represent Fleming’s secret agent.
Daniel Craig was sent in to rediscover the balance of Bond.
Though Mull rejects him for being too dark and unamusing, Craig preserves the nature that Connery captured and intervening Bonds had defaced. As shown by his suave smirk featured in this scene from Casino Royale, Craig helped renew a 50-year old franchise with his blue eyes, pragmatic grit, and appropriately restrained sense of humor.
After all, he is a trained killer.
To finish, I call attention to the fact that Ms. Mull decried Craig for appearing too much like our “long-suffering superheroes.” However, her nomination to play James Bond, Henry Cavill, will be playing Superman this summer.
Let’s stick with our man on the job.