James Bond is an alpha male. Period. Fandom has a more apt description: “The stereotype of a spy, detective, martial artist and assassin, Bond is a highly unique individual. He appears to be of sound mind and strong spirit. He is highly intelligent, exceedingly cunning and diabolically independent. He is also extremely sensible, calm, mature and sly.” And almost every actor who played the iconic spy embraced these qualities to look and be the part on-screen, and Daniel Craig was not one of them.
Craig came in when the Bond franchise decided to reboot. It was time the world saw a spy with a heart. Despite the ingenious gadgets, the chivalry, the chutzpah, the usual blitzkrieg and the stunningly and staggeringly beautiful women, it was time for a change. And in a jacked, brash, arrogant Bond in Craig, the franchise hit a jackpot.
Rollback to 2006 when ‘Casino Royale’ hit theatres. The opening fistfight sequence came damnedly close to a bloodbath. You wouldn’t imagine Bond to be a parkour man. And you wouldn’t have imagined him to be a jacked beast whose muscles rippled when he was biffing the bad guys when it wasn’t masked subtly by those insanely sublime-looking Tom Fords.
Most of all, you wouldn’t imagine him to be vulnerable. Craig’s Bond was one-of-a-kind. His fights were gritty and dirty. He wasn’t afraid to throw a punch and take one either. He redefined being cold-hearted. Judi Dench’s M called him a “blunt instrument” and for good reason. This was a 007 who took his license to kill very seriously. And while at it, he wasn’t to stick a knife into a man’s heart and watch him die in cold blood. This just goes on to say, he wasn’t exactly what Ian Fleming had in mind when he wrote the books.
Craig’s biography in the official site is an interesting read: “Daniel Craig brought the danger, seductive rawness and realism to Bond that the 2006 reboot of the series demanded. Born in Chester, England, in 1968, Craig worked in television and with some of the world’s leading directors, including Sam Mendes, with whom he would later work in ‘Skyfall’. While taking cues from every one of the previous Bond actors, Craig has redefined James Bond for the 21st Century, exploring new depths in the character and met the challenge of filmmaking with a commitment to performing many of his own stunts.”
If anything, Craig was a more human Bond. You could shoot him, torture him and almost mind-break him. And that made him a more relatable character. In his four appearances, there were no attempts made to hide the fact that he was getting old, rather that was used to further boost his personality. “Old dog, new tricks”.
Ahead of his upcoming ‘No Time to Die’, the actor will be essentially pulled out of retirement and will face a new breed of villains. At the moment, it is still unclear how it all ends for Craig in his final outing as 007, but irrespective, it won’t take away the fact that he was more believable and relatable Bond of the lot.
‘No Time to Die’ releases on April 2 in the UK and on April 8 in the US.