Is it time for a 007 woman?

Is it time for a 007 woman?

The release of the latest Bond film, or rather, the latest Bond starring Daniel Craig, was accompanied by a heartfelt discussion on the legacy of the title role of the saga. As always happens, with the release of a 007 film the season of the hunt for the new face of Bond opens, but in the case of No Time to Die this tradition is colored with a different nuance, which does not only include a new face for Her Majesty's agent, but who asks a question that, for some purists, seems like a heresy: what if the next 007 was a woman?

ATTENTION: the following may contain spoilers on No Time to Die

A distinction must be made: James Bond is also 007, but 007 is not just Bond. Despite an emotional, charismatic bond between man and designation, they are two interconnected elements that can survive independently. Right in No Time to Die, and it's not a spoiler, Bond's retirement left the 007 title vacant, which is picked up by Nomi (Lashana Lynch). There is no shortage, in the film, of references to this passing of the baton, from a cheeky "Did you think they would withdraw it?" , launched as a challenge by Nomi to Bond, to a more suffering but contained "It's just a number" by Commander Bond himself. Of course, sixty years of close coexistence between Bond and his operative code have prompted us to see them as a whole, but in these six decades we have gone further, socially and, consequently, also in the world of cinema.

007 can it go beyond the Bond myth?

At the time of Brosnan's Bond, the first opening to a change in the perception of the role of women was having Judi Dench as M, a starting with GoldenEye. Seeing a woman as Bond's boss was a surprise, but Brosnan's Bond was the right time to shake up this Cold War son, who, albeit detached from Fleming's original paper, tended to be too tied to a macho vision that was beginning to show its age.

Dench's entry into the scene as M was a first attempt to soften the role of women in Bond, traditionally portrayed seemingly as strong, see Pussy Galore or Anya Amasova, but who always tended to fall into the arms of the seducer par excellence. Without forgetting that in the first films starring Sean Connery there were small attitudes that at the time were considered welcome demonstrations of male camaraderie, but which today, in the light of a new social awareness, are far from being welcome.

The role of the woman, in the Bond films, has therefore always been that of the end-of-mission award, with some small concessions in which apparently modern sides were shown. But before the Craig era, the only female figure capable of emancipating herself from this sensation of an object was Teresa di Vincenzo in 007 - In Her Majesty's Secret Service, a concession that the Italian countess and Bond paid dearly for. The reality is that Bond has always had a dominant role over the famous Bond Girls, a male root borrowed from Fleming's books, slightly adapted to the passing of the decades where Connery's impetuousness gave way to Moore's winking smile, but which did not he could see the woman as an equal of the British spy.

It matters little that during the turn-of-the-century revolution that saw Brosnan as protagonist, a female spin-off was also thought of, centered on Halle Berry's Jacinta 'Jinx' Johnson, in the wake of her appearance in Die Another Day. The women in Bond were subject to a secondary role, and absurdly the strong female figures who begin to make their appearance in the cinema were always condemned to a definition that still related them to Bond, but in a meaning that diminished them in a Sure sense: Bond in a skirt.

Whether it was Nikita, Lorraine Broughton or their colleagues, no matter how convincing and charming they were, no matter how much their being a woman was an element that enhanced their spirit steadfast, they were still 'Bonds in skirts'. An unfair comparison, which always left Bond as a comparison not only by virtue of his long presence in the collective imagination (it would have been sufficient to say 'the heirs of Bond', in the case) but always aimed to keep them one step behind the British spy, despite in some cases their missions were head and shoulders above certain excesses of ridicule experienced by the MI6 agent, baseness such as the gondola hovercraft or the crocodile costume that make you feel a movement of tenderness for what Moore had to wear, in addition to the tuxedo . The fact is, however, that not only in Bond, but also in the context of spy films, female secret agents have always had to suffer from a subordinate role, whether as a weak shoulder to Bond or as an undervalued emule.

Did we see Bond's heir in Not Time to Die?

Yet, No Time to Die could be the turning point for this stale stretch of Bond, so much so that we can finally open up to a 007 woman. In this film, in fact, we already have a 007 woman, the convincing Nomi of Lashana Lynch, who collects the legacy of Craig's Bond as a spy in her service of majesty. It does not escape that in this case too we want to take a step back from Bond, but here aspects such as his inexperience take over, given that he has been a DoubleZero for two years, and the fact that the protagonist of this long narrative arc started in 2006 with Casino Royale is unmistakably Bond. The bond between Bond and Nomi, however, passes through the film from that of rivalry ('Double zero how?' Nomi asks resentfully at the beginning of their collaboration) to a vision of mentor and pupil, with the birth of a silent respect that it originates, in my opinion, from a common experience. On the other hand, even Bond in Casino Royale, the new DoppioZero, commits beginner mistakes that are indeed the result of the emotional setting of Craig's Bondian course, but also represent a lack as an agent of DoppioZero.

One of the legacies of No Time to Die could be a 007 woman, a deserved privilege on the field, which shows a maturity of the saga in giving women a different role within the myth of the British spy, also separating 007 from James Bond. While presenting itself as a modern spy story, Craig's Bond has also given signals quite in line with the tradition of portraying women who have had to take steps back because they are not up to par, as in the case of Eve Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) in Skyfall, passed from being a probable DoppioZero to secretary of the new M, Mallory (an always composed Ralph Fiennes). Sure, Moneypenny in this role gave a different approach to the famous ritual of playful seduction between Bond and his boss's secretary, but it still leaves the feeling of wanting to put Eve on a lower level than James ('this life is not made for everyone ').

In No Time to Die, the two female shoulders of the British spy prove to be able to stand up to the more experienced Bond. Not only does Nomi live up to expectations, but also CIA agent Paloma (Ana de Armas) shows her own well-defined personality, capable of keeping up with the myth of Bond. Apparently naive, with a humor made up of involuntary and sweetness, as well as a contained but undeniable sensuality, they make the young Cuban a well-defined and exciting figure. But what keeps the DoubleZero myth alive is that, at least within the plot of No Time to Die, is the designated heir of 007.

Nomi, in fact, is finally presented as her equal. She manages to surprise him, she uses her familiar seduction as a weapon against him and proves she has all the skills to be a 007 woman we can grow fond of. Craig himself recently stated with her it would not make sense to have a female James Bond, but that it is necessary to create new female characters in their own right, valued for their nature and not because they are a version in a skirt of male archetypes. Above all, because James Bond, as a concept and role, is inevitably a man and he must remain so, or it would be a matter of betraying the spirit of the character.

Different speech for a 007 woman, who in the contemporary world would have her own reason to be consistent, if well written and not victimized by a James Bond syndrome, which always sees her forced to compare herself with her predecessor. The different James Bond performers have already thought about enduring this continuous competition, now it would be better to go further, open up to a different conception of 007 that finally sees him separated from James Bond. And Nomi is ready to take up this legacy, in No Time to Die she has both demonstrated it and tacitly already did. And who knows, one day not far away we might see 007 come out of the sea, taking off her diving suit and showing off a beautiful evening dress with a train.

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