OUR CRITICISM – We saw “Die can wait”, the James Bond “woke” that purists will hate

That’s all folks ! 15 years after his first mission in Casino Royale, Daniel Craig bows out with To die can wait, unveiled Tuesday evening September 28 to the press, in parallel with its preview at the Royal Albert Hall in London, in the presence of the royal family. Waiting is what characterizes the 25th installment of the saga. Originally scheduled for April 2020, the film’s release has been postponed several times due to the pandemic. Obviously, in the meantime, the fans have shot a thousand plans on the comet. Many have a strong idea of ​​how to write and direct a James Bond. And some may be angry with the choices made by producers.

Since entering service, Daniel Craig’s 007 has been playing on two levels. On the surface, the films respect the codes of the genre – a chic and manly hero, sublime women, heavenly sets, dantesque action scenes and Machiavellian villains. At this level, no problem: the director Cary Joji Fukunaga still amazes his eyes. But from the inside, it’s another story that unfolds from the start: that of a mythical hero “deconstructed” to better stick to his time. Even if it means destroying everything that made its legend, including the Aston Martin.

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women are taking power

Remember: ruthless killing machine, James Bond was humanized in contact with Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), his beloved with doom in Casino Royale. Heartbroken he avenged her in Quantum of Solace, before facing the ghosts of his past in Skyfall. To die can wait is the continuation of the plot developed in the controversial Spectre, in 2015. After having sent the odious Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) to prison, his Majesty’s favorite spy has taken leave of MI6 and is spending peaceful days with Madeleine, his shrink played by the French Léa Seydoux. Bond the couple for good? Shocking !

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A melodic dimension assumed

The production having made us promise not to deflower the plot – a hashtag #Spoilerdoitattendre has even been created – we will not tell you how or why 007 is coming out of retirement. What we can tell you, however, is that this final episode, the first of the post-MeToo era, confronts him with a new world where he is no longer quite in his place. No more “girls” who fall into bed effortlessly. In this episode co-written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the creator of the series Killing Eve, several women steal the show from the aging male, with a lot of humor and aplomb.

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One of them, Agent Nomi, is played by Jamaican-born comedian Lashana Lynch, a clever way to defuse the controversy over the skin color of an upcoming Bond. Their on-screen rivalry is bubbly and flavorful, almost as much as the explosive encounter of the tuxedoed seducer with Paloma, a deceptively ingenuous spy played by Latin comedian Ana De Armas.

But where To die can wait takes the most risks – even freedoms with the spirit of the saga – it is in its assumed melodramatic dimension, the scenario pushing the relationship between Bond and Madeleine very far. Making fun of 007’s machismo is one thing. Giving it a heart, a real one, is another and on several occasions we come to wonder if we are still in a spy movie. Yet this is what differentiates this incarnation of Ian Fleming’s hero from all the previous ones, even if it means betraying the myth. This is also what will make succession very difficult, if not impossible. But that, we’ll talk about it later …

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