So, one of the things that my parents shared when they were dating way back in the beforetimes of 1974 was a love for James Bond movies. It was one of the things they had in common, though for different reasons. My dad liked the action, the cars and the gadgets. My mom had the hots for Sean Connery and Rodger Moore. The second of which is a head scratcher for me, as Moore isn't much of a looker in my opinion, but to each their own, eh?
So, as I was growing up, James Bond movies were a pretty big part of my life. One of the first movies I can remember seeing in a theater is Never Say Never Again. They bought VHS tapes of them. We'd watch James Bond movies as family activities. They'd take me and my siblings to new Bond movies in the theater as they came out, even after I moved out on my own. I own most of them on Bluray now-a-days, and have since read the books by Ian Fleming (which have not aged well, unfortunately). Are all of them masterpieces? Nope. Are some of them pretty cringe in this day and age. Yep. Has Bond changed with the times to be a bit more PC? Definitely. Do I have a problem with that? Not really.
In recent years the Bond franchise has taken a bit of flak for being nothing more than "male power fantasy". And my rebuttal to that is, "yes, and?" Is there something wrong with that? Are men not allowed to have our fantasies? Are women the only ones who have that right? There's plenty of media out there that is purely female power fantasy. And yes, people criticize the hell out of that too, but we all really shouldn't. People should be allowed to enjoy their power fantasies no matter which bits they were born with. Who cares if something is dudebro power or gurl power? Let it exist for the people it exists for and move on with your lives. Here's the thing about media. You will never, ever, ever make something that is for everyone. When people try, garbage is usually the best they can shoot for. The best you can do is make something that some people will really, really like. And, for the most part, James Bond is for men. I'm not saying women can't enjoy it. My mom sure does. But, as stated before, definitely not for the same reasons I do. The movies are made with a certain audience in mind, and they play to that audience. They've made concessions over the years to make them more acceptable and less cringe for the times in which they were made, but, overall, they've played to that one audience.
Fast forward to present day. Or, rather, whenever the first trailer for No Time To Die came out. My mom called me and was really pissed off about it. "Did you see that trailer? They're cutting James Bond's balls off, and giving them to some really annoying woman!" Keep in mind that my MOM, a WOMAN, said this to me. I watched the trailer, and yeah, that appeared to be what was happening. I watched Lashana Lynch's character thoroughly emasculate Bond throughout the trailer, and was like, "WTF is this garbage?" And then rumors started coming out. There had been rumors over who would take on the mantle of Bond after Daniel Craig left, and once that trailer hit, the rumors were all "They're replacing James Bond with a woman" "the new Bond movie, Bond will take a back seat to a woman, and then hand the mantle over to her at the end" and things like that.
I don't know about you, but I don't want to see that. I really don't. I want James Bond to be the hero in his own movie, beat the bad guys through a combination of smarts and physical kick-assery, and walk away afterward, quipping and straightening his tie like it was no big deal. Rumors of Bond being replaced with a woman persisted, and seemed to be confirmed by Lynch herself on more than one occasion. Test audiences for the movie were reportedly extremely unhappy with the movie, prompting extensive rewrites and reshoots, and I'm pretty sure I know exactly what was rewritten and reshot. Plus there was a lot of public backlash over the idea, and Lynch decided not to heed the cardinal rule of the internet, which is to ignore the trolls, and fully engaged with them making kind of an ass out of herself in the doing. It was shaping up to be a big mess.
And then the pandemic reared its ugly head and the movie was pushed back for more than a year. All while more and more rumors about the woke trainwreck the movie had been turned into ran wild. After what, like 2 years of being pushed back, I'm kind of sick of the movie. I'm sick of hearing about it. I'm sick of seeing trailers for it. I'm sick of people talking about it. I'm sick of the actors making asses of themselves on social media over the movie. I'm just sick of it. I don't care anymore. When did James Bond turn into this political landmine of a movie? Remember when James Bond was about a government sanctioned serial killer who saved the world from over the top villains with silly plans for world domination, all while making the world's worst dad jokes, and dressing like a boss? Yeah. Those were good times. I liked those movies.
So, the movie came out. And though it seems Lynch's character has been toned down considerably after test audiences hated her, and some very vocal parts of the internet completely rejected the idea of her being the next Bond, the movie has one final middle finger for longtime fans.
James Bond dies at the end.
WHAT!? Are you freaking kidding me? So. Let me get this straight. James Bond finds plenty of time to die... in a movie called No Time To Die...? REALLY? Really? James Bond never dies. He always comes out the other side quipping, and halfway into some ridiculously named woman's panties. It's part of the fantasy. So they decided to take away James Bond and replace him with a woman, were completely shocked that no one wanted to see that, changed the movie to be more Bond focused, but as a final FU they kill him. Great.
So, obviously I'm not going to see this movie. I don't need to watch another one of my heroes die on the altar of woke. I've seen quite enough of them sacrificed there already in recent years. Luke Skywalker, anyone? I don't need to see Bond old and struggling to do things he effortlessly would have accomplished and looked great doing even just ten years ago. I don't need to watch Bond being emasculated by abrasive women. And I certainly don't need to watch him die. That's not what Bond is about. And anyone who thinks it should be, needs to be shown the door. They obviously don't get it, and they are a hindrance to the franchise. You don't take something, completely change it, kill off the hero, and attempt to hand it off to another hero, and then expect everyone to praise you for it. I mean, come on. This series has almost seventy years of history behind it, and seventy years worth of fans. You're going to take a huge dump on all of that, because you feel it's problematic in this day and age, and are seeing all of the new fans you're going to make with your new Frankenstein's monster of a film. Well, news flash, you're alienating all of the existing fans, and no one else is going to care. You're not going to be bringing in new audiences, and the audience you had isn't going to stick around for your BS. So who, exactly, are you making the movie for? Just to stroke your own ego? 300 million seems like a pretty huge pricetag just to stroke your own ego.
I am absolutely not saying that I hate women, that I don't think women can be action heroes, that I don't think women can lead movies/franchises. I am not saying that at all. One of my FAVORITE movie heroes is Ripley from Aliens. Who, last time I checked, is a woman. Sigourney Weaver sells the hell out of it too. When I see her on screen, I completely believe that she is a badass capable of fighting the queen alien in a robotic suit, or of heading into the alien hive alone and armed to the teeth to rescue her surrogate daughter from a horrific death. Sarah Conner is another of my favorites. She's a woman too. And Linda Hamilton sells it just as well as Sigourney Weaver does. I even have a bit of a soft spot for the Resident Evil movies, terrible as they are. I'm not saying that women shouldn't have roles LIKE James Bond. I'm saying that they shouldn't BE James Bond. If you want to make a movie about a woman who is a highly skilled spy like James Bond, I will wholeheartedly support you. In fact, that movie already exists. It's called Atomic Blonde and it was awesome. Go watch it. You won't be disappointed. You can rent it off amazon video for like $4. Make more of that, please. I'll happily go see them. I think that Daniel Craig said it best. "I don't think James Bond should be a woman. There should be better roles available for women and people of color." I absolutely agree. Women and people of color should not get hand me downs from existing properties. There should be new and exciting properties for them to be a part of.
So, that's pretty much it. I'm not seeing the movie. I'm frankly sick to death of hearing about it. It's the first Bond movie since 1983 that I will not be watching in a theater. Because they tried to woke the hell out of it, and then killed one of my heroes out of spite when nobody was on board for it. I'm wholly on board with Bond being updated for a modern audience and modern sensibilities. But taking his series away from him and giving it to a woman. That's too far. Killing him when people were rightly outraged over the idea? That's petty and it breaks the illusion of the fantasy. I don't want to see that. And I'm not going to. And, apparently, neither is anyone else. The movie performed far lower than expected its opening weekend at the box office. It's one of the most expensive movies ever made, due to all of the pandemic delays, stretching the marketing out longer and longer. And it probably isn't even going to break even. It has nothing to do with the pandemic, either. Look at Venom. That movie sold like crazy. People are sick of hearing about the movie. No one wants to see James Bond die. And people are annoyed by the efforts to wokeify the franchise. What did they think was going to happen?