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The James Bond franchise should end with Daniel Craig

Daniel Craig gave us everything we need and more with his interpretation of James Bond, so it's time to let the character rest and end the franchise

The James Bond franchise should end with Daniel Craig

After 60 years, and 27 movies, the James Bond franchise finally did the unthinkable when it allowed 007 to die in the conclusion of its latest instalment, No Time to Die. Daniel Craig has served his country, and the franchise, impeccably over the course of the last 16 years, portraying the super spy in five epic action movies. But, what does the future hold for James Bond? We think the character and the franchise should be allowed to rest, and that Daniel Craig should be the final Bond.

Now, that’s not to say that future instalments of the Bond franchise wouldn’t be worthwhile, or enjoyable. We’re sure they would be. And whoever does take over the mantle will no doubt do a great job, too. Whether we like it or not, the spy movie saga will inevitably continue, probably in the not-too-distant future, with producer Barbara Broccoli already talking about finding the next 007.

However, with what Daniel Craig has achieved with his interpretation of Bond and the incredible legacy he has left behind, maybe it’s time to close the curtain on James Bond for good.

Past iterations of James Bond have always been guilty of being rather camp and cheesy. Perhaps it’s due to the earlier movies in the franchise being a product of their time, but they never really sold me on the idea that this guy was a dangerous, clinical super-spy.

I’ll admit, I have never really been much of a fan of the series. Not that I dislike the previous 22 films, but it wasn’t until Daniel Craig came along that I really started to pay attention to James Bond.

So, what makes Daniel Craig’s Bond so special? With 2006’s Casino Royale, audiences were treated to a completely different Bond to any we had seen before. This Bond was brutal and deadly, a different beast entirely to his predecessors. And, the movie itself, rather than leaning on the fun, schlocky elements of previous instalments, took a decidedly more gritty and thrilling route.

The most impressive feat of Daniel Craig in delivering this new breed of Bond, is that he still manages to maintain all the charisma, wit, and intelligence that is synonymous with the character while punching up the role with incredible physicality.

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This new era for Bond sees the movies, for the most part, offering a real step up in terms of being genuine cinematic greats. Casino Royale and Skyfall in particular, are not just good James Bond films. Much like The Dark Knight did for Batman movies, the first and third instalments in the Craig series transcended the franchise and are widely regarded as brilliant, standalone thriller movies.

However, the Daniel Craig era of Bond, which has seen magnificent filmmakers like Martin Campbell, Sam Mendes, and most recently, Cary Fukunaga take the director’s chair, is most effective when viewed as a collective of movies. Whereas previous Bond movies have by and large been an in-and-out adventure, disconnected from the bigger picture, Daniel Craig’s Bond movies were all part of a wider plan.

The character journey of this 007 is a fascinating one, offering more development and insight into the psyche of this almost mythical being than ever before. We see his darker side; his guilt, his pain, his trauma, and ultimately, his failure. Craig’s Bond is flawed and is a far richer character for it.

All of this came to a head in the latest instalment of the Bond franchise, No Time to Die. The enthralling tangle of James Bond’s life and career, colliding in spectacular fashion, as faces from his past converge with new adversaries, leaving the man behind the mission to make some very difficult decisions indeed.

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Now, Bond has genuine love in his life, and a family, even. But, the happiness could never last for 007, with inevitable tragedy looming. The man who had already given so much for his country, for the world, had one more huge sacrifice to make. It’s safe to say, when our hero does say his goodbyes to Madeline, and his daughter, tears were shed.

As upsetting as it was to bid farewell to this legendary character, who had entertained us for so long and given us so much more than a trained assassin, No Time to Die gave us the perfect closing chapter to the legacy of James Bond. We saw a character who had been built up to be invincible and unflinching, become entirely human and incredibly vulnerable.

Saying goodbye is never easy, but the final ascent for Daniel Craig’s James Bond was a beautiful swansong; a true hero’s exit. The five film saga that we have witnessed over the last 16 years should be viewed as the perfect way to lay this iconic character to rest, once and for all. Some people may want more, and we will almost certainly get more, but it’s hard to imagine that anything will come close to what is already the definitive version of the character.