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James Bond is returning in the spy’s 25th official adventure, No Time to Die. With the first full trailer sending anticipation into overdrive, we reckoned it was a perfect time to review Craig’s tenure with seven of his best moments to date, plus a flavour of what’s to come when No Time To Die comes to ODEON on 2 April 2020.
Despite a strong start with Goldeneye, Pierce Brosnan’s last film in the role, 2002’s Die Another Day, had ramped up the ludicrous gadgets and campiness to such a degree that it wasn’t clear the series could bounce back. But, from the brutal, black and white pre-credits sequence onwards, Casino Royale (and Craig) showed that Bond was back and in no mood to mess around. Based loosely on Ian Fleming’s first 007 novel, this was a franchise reset in every sense, and delighted in confounding expectations.
Take 007’s famous introduction, which, in an inspired twist, became the very last line of the film – the cap on Bond’s transformation from new agent to hardbitten assassin.
If you want another indication of how the bone-crunching hand-to-hand combat and practical stunts of the Bourne series forced Bond to up his game, look no further than this breathless pursuit through, up and down a construction site in Madagascar.
Bond films have long incorporated popular tech and activities into their action – Roger Moore’s Bond practically invented snowboarding in The Spy Who Loved Me – and in this sequence, building-hopping Parkour gets its seven minutes of fame with jaw- dropping results.
James Bond’s love of fast cars is legendary, and while he’s dallied with Lotuses, BMWs (and famously in For Your Eyes Only a canary-yellow Citroen 2CV), his marque of choice is always an Aston Martin. He’s had a fair few over the years – they rarely make it intact through a chase let alone an entire film – but one of our all-time favourites is the Aston Martin DBS V12 as seen in the opening sequence of 2008’s Quantum Of Solace.
Edited brilliantly, we swoop over Italy’s Lake Como, glimpsing details of Craig’s Bond at the wheel before the roar of engines and gunfire reveals he’s mid chase, pursued by two black Alfa Romeos through a tunnel.
Skyfall’s exhilarating pre-credits sequence is an all-time 007 classic, filling in an important bit of Bond canon – Moneypenny’s origin as a field agent – going large on location-showcasing practical stunts, and ending with a genuine shock.
Moneypenny is urged to take a long-distance shot by M over comms but can’t get a clear bead on the baddie. The barked order is given, Moneypenny shoots... and James falls (seemingly dead) off the train, plummeting into a gorge and right into the opening credits and Adele’s gorgeous ‘Skyfall’.
With Casino Royale giving Daniel Craig the opportunity to become Bond back at the start of his double-oh career, the super spy’s infamously love-‘em-and-leave-‘em attitude to women got a long overdue update, too.
Take this crackling scene between 007 and Vesper Lynd, played with gloriously understated control by Eva Green. Bond starts the conversation by using his observational skills to identify her character, background and potential weaknesses. Without missing a beat, Vesper then does the same thing back to James, before leaving the bemused but impressed spy to dine alone.
We love a good baddie-explaining-his-plans-and-motivations-to-captured-Bond scene. And, while we’re not 100 per cent behind his weird art-installation-in-the- MI6-building nonsense at the end of Spectre, Christoph Waltz’s Blofeld hits all the right notes in this excruciatingly tense meeting.
With Dr. Swann forced to watch, Blofeld starts drilling tiny holes in the captive Bond’s head to mess with his memory, balance etc. while simultaneously revealing a very personal reason why he wants James to suffer horribly.
One of the best things about a long-running series like the James Bond films is that there’s always a fresh opportunity to mess with the audience’s expectations.
This first encounter between 007 and Skyfall’s big bad, Raoul Silva, is a fantastic case in point. Javier Bardem’s Silva makes a deliberately leisurely approach, relating a stomach-turning anecdote about nurturing cannibalistic rats, while James sits tied to a chair. Classic Bond baddie.
From the theory that Lashana Lynch’s Nomi has inherited Bond’s ‘007’ designation, to the rumour that Rami Malek’s Safin is actually none other than a reimagined Dr. No, there’s a lot of fevered speculation. For now, all we know for certain is that, as Daniel Craig’s last Bond outing, No Time to Die is going to be as surprising as it is spectacular when it’s released on 2 April.