Bond, James Bond… still relevant?

There are characters and genres in pop culture that I feel have died out; Tarzan, the Lone Ranger, and Flash Gordon for example. They’re iconic, but they’re no longer culturally relevant. Sure people loved them long ago, , but we see that they really belong to a the time/age they were created in. I’d even say some superheroes are dated and no longer relevant. (*cough* Superman*cough*)

Even supervillains love fluffy kitties. (Or are cats the real leaders of supervillain lairs?)
Even supervillains love fluffy kitties. (Or are cats the real leaders behind supervillain organizations?)

For this article, I’m going to focus on one really popular, but increasingly irrelevant character: James Bond. I’m not going to bury 007, but praise him for what he was, yet point out his day in the pop culture sun may be over.

Ian Fleming served in British Intelligence during World  War II.  From his experience, he created the character of James Bond. The popular books written in the 50s then became popular movies that started in the 60s.

Bond was a hit right out of the gate. He was classy, manly, had gadgets and was involved in international affairs fighting Russians and an evil organization called SPECTRE. (I suspect Marvel based Hydra off of SPECTRE, btw.) Oh, and he got the babes!

Sean Connery played the iconic James Bond during it’s first few films. George Lazenby was followed by Roger Moore. Shortly after Moore retired from playing Bond in 70s and 80s, the Soviet Union collapsed.  James Bond’s role as superspy thwarting the Soviet Union became a thing of the past.

Without a major global threat, Bond’s relevance as a character was greatly diminished.  The most current actor to play Bond, was Daniel Craig. I think he did a great job and Casino Royale was excellent. However, fighting terrorists and drug dealers is not the same as fighting supervillains Hell bent on conquering the world through Hydra, er… SPECTRE, or fighting Russians who were the enemy of the Cold War.

Here’s my point: Bond is a relic of the Cold War. In our modern day and age, does it make sense to send a superspy against terrorists? Not really. Terrorists are things we blow up with predator drones or with soldiers. We can do a lot with technology now that we couldn’t do in the Cold War.

For Bond to survive in contemporary movies, Hollywood would have to focus on him fighting a superspy agency and have him play a more well dressed Batman against villainous agents of SPECTRE.

Beyond that, Bond, like Tarzan, is an agent of history.

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