Spoilers follow for the latest Bond movie, SPECTRE. If you haven’t seen the film and don’t want the surprises taken away from you, you might wanna hop outta this Aston Martin right about now.
One of the most hotly debated things about SPECTRE is the ending. Was it implied that Bond is gone for good, intending to live out his days with Dr. Madeleine Swann by his side, or was it just a classic drive-off-into-the-sunset ending? It could be either, or both. Whatever the case may be, it’s a light and open ending we’ve already seen in Bond films of yesteryear. But for many, SPECTRE‘s ending was insufficient.
One of the film’s biggest dangling threads is Bond’s job. When the sinister Nine Eyes global surveillance program went live, MI5 and MI6 were merged, causing the 00 program to meet a swift end. What has become of MI6 and the 00 program? M didn’t show up to explain any of it, and Q‘s presence in the garage at the end of the film would suggest that maybe things are returning to normal. But the emptiness of the garage and lack of other staff could imply that he’s working his last days as the quartermaster.
Then, there were the interviews. During the big promotional push for SPECTRE, Daniel Craig was notoriously candid about how fed up he was with making Bond films. In an interview with Time Out London, Craig was asked if he could imagine doing another Bond movie. His answer was pretty, er, spectacular.
“Now? I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists. No, not at the moment. Not at all. That’s fine. I’m over it at the moment. We’re done. All I want to do is move on.”
He then went on to add that he simply didn’t want to give it any thought “for at least a year or two,” and that if he were to do another Bond film, that it would “only be for the money.” Ouch.
These strong signals pointed to a conclusion that SPECTRE could very well be Daniel Craig’s farewell to the franchise, but Craig’s contract supposedly included a fifth film. Now, the general consensus is that he’s expected to return for another. In that likely event, where does the next film go? SPECTRE‘s reception didn’t match the highs of Skyfall or Casino Royale, but if handled with care, I think Craig’s last shot could be his best. How?
A New Romance
Lea Seydoux is a wonderful actress, but her role as love interest Madeleine Swann was underwritten. She was swallowed by a movie that was working very hard to accomplish a lot of other things. Suffice it to say that Swann is no Vesper Lynd, and I think the next film should disregard her. Don’t kill her off, setting Bond on a quest to avenge his lover. We saw that film already. It was called Quantum of Solace. Just let Bond move on.
Bring Back Mr. Hinx
Undoubtedly the henchiest of henchmen we’ve had so far in Craig’s run, the mysterious Mr. Hinx deserves another chance. Dave Bautista was top-notch casting for the role, and his metal thumbnails and double-barreled pistol were classic henchman accessories. He wasn’t given a whole lot to do, but he’s got so much more potential. His rather brutal exit from the train might have spelled his doom, but Jaws went through a lot worse in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker and came out just fine. I think Mr. Hinx was one of SPECTRE‘s more successful elements, and he’d be welcome in the next film, even if he was stuck in a neck brace.
Blofeld is a Given
Blofeld has been captured, and perhaps that’s where he should stay for a while. The only question is when to let the cuckoo out of his cage. A prison break would make for a dynamite opening in a Bond movie, but they’d have to be careful not to mirror Raul Silva’s prison break from Skyfall. Or, they could hold off on it and let a new antagonist break Blofeld out at the halfway point. Either way, we need to see Christoph Waltz go full Donald Pleasance, shiny dome and all.
Try Another Instrumental Song
Have you heard the instrumental version of “Writing’s On The Wall”? It’s great! Thomas Newman knocked that orchestral accompaniment out of the park. So enough with these pop stars and their “moon June spoon” lyrics. We haven’t had an instrumental song since On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
If that’s just not an option, I’d say don’t give it to an up-and-comer or someone at the height of their fame. Corinne Bailey Rae would be a great choice for a jazzy ballad. The Dead Weather vocalist Allison Mosshart could bring a gritty power to a rock tune. Or hey, here’s an idea: bring back Shirley Bassey. Last time I checked, she was still great.
Get Bond His Groove Back
SPECTRE showed us a calmer Bond, a cool cucumber in the face of any threat. But many critics felt that the performance came across bored, or even sleepy. In previous films, Craig brought such an attitude and ferocity to the character that was sorely lacking in his latest outing. I want to see the kind of energy in the dialogue scenes that Craig shows in that train fight, the kind of crackle and chemistry we know he’s capable of. Also, I think Bond is at his best when he’s hanging around in bars, dressed to kill, and schmoozing over drinks. SPECTRE was light on that, but it did manage to give us a short but charming scene with Bond in a white dinner jacket and batwing tie, flirting deftly with Madeleine. Really, though, give this guy a bar or party to walk through. Yes, it’s an old Bond trope, but Bond is, in many ways, a socialite. Now perhaps a wannabe socialite. It’d be fun to turn him loose on a party again.
No More Obsolescence
Both Skyfall and SPECTRE have kicked around the idea that James Bond isn’t fit for this world anymore. He’s out of date, a dinosaur. There’s a bigger metaphor here about Bond as a chauvinist, a man out of touch with today’s audiences. But Bond’s contemporary world keeps up with the technological worries that frequent our headlines: drones, satellites, hackers, and mass surveillance. Why would M send an assassin to do a nerd’s job? Neither film has really answered that question definitively, so I think the next Bond film should tell us a story where Bond is an indispensable part of MI6. Perhaps the end of SPECTRE puts Bond in a place to be that indispensable guy. But in order to do that, he’ll have to end the holiday and get back to the job. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be 007 anymore, and we can’t have that now, can we?