During the duration James bond series of films, most of the 007 incarnations avoided any character development. In part, this was helped by the show’s loose continuity and the desire to make each film visible as a stand-alone story. And while each actor’s portrayal of Bond is different from the other, the portrayals tend to remain static in their separate iterations.
This is not the case with Daniel Craig’s version of the character, which is the sixth James Bond in the official lineage of the films. His character has undergone changes between each of the five films he appeared in, becoming the most dynamic version of the character to date.
ten Bond gets a lot colder about killing
James Bond’s relative ease in committing suicide began in the prologue to Casino Royale, who documents him by completing the two kills required to become an 00 Agent. In Daniel Craig’s version of Bond, this was achieved by taking out a treacherous MI6 station chief and his contact. Bond is clearly reeling from his first murder after drowning the contact in a sink, but he sarcastically ends the Chief’s comment that killing becomes easier after shooting him.
Nevertheless, Bond has fewer kills in Casino Royale and doesn’t have the same callous, indifferent view of death that he develops later in the series. Bond’s outlook changes so much that, in Spectrum, he is mainly referred to as an assassin. In No time to die he’s not shy about blowing up an entire facility filled with innocent personnel while calmly pushing his way through most of it.
9 His level of cunning increases
James Bond is not a stupid man, he graduated from Cambridge University and rose through the ranks of the Navy to become a commander. Likewise, from the start of his career, Bond proved to be pragmatic and cunning. For example, he removes bullets from a man’s weapon before confronting him in Fall from the sky.
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Nonetheless, his level of cunning only increases over the course of the series, with Bond becoming more and more devious. The best example is when Bond’s daughter’s life is threatened in No time to die. While other films have shown him easily subjected to these threats, in No time to die, Bond pretends to beg – using him as a cover to draw a gun and kill the guards.
8 Bond becomes much more suspicious of love
Bond is not a man particularly open to love. He’s a cynic who prefers to run without any commitment. However, after the events of Casino Royale where Vesper betrays him and MI6, Bond genuinely rejects the notion of love.
In the prologue of No time to die, Bond is ambushed by SPECTER and taunted by Blofeld, who claims that his lover, Madeleine Swann, has set him up. Although Swann rejects the accusation, Bond puts her on a train and does not see her for five years, not trusting her anymore.
seven He’s looking for more revenge
Vesper Lynd’s betrayal and death changes a lot for Bond. Although he claims not to care, he spends most of Quantum of Consolation hunt down those who killed her for revenge.
Before this incident, Bond was more professional. However, after Casino Royale, he is happy to avenge Vesper despite the risk to his position in MI6. In Spectrum, he briefly deviates from his revenge plot by sparing Blofeld; but after showing how bad it was, he tries to strangle her to death in her cell at No time to die.
6 Bond is calmer about his job
Although Bond is never terrified in previous films, his stress level is evident in high risk situations. He tends to remain silent in his fights by Casino Royale rather than ditch the taunts for which his predecessors are known, and is notably shaken up after surviving a poisoning attempt.
As Bond’s experience increases, he becomes more comfortable with his job, even when injured or in a difficult position. His demeanor becomes calmer and cooler and he spends more time talking to his enemies. While No time to die, he makes a joke with Q about a murder he got off using one of his gadgets.
5 His missions become more altruistic
James Bond would challenge his status as a “hero”. In fact, Craig’s incarnation often reflects his status as a hitman for the British government and the kind of person who makes him. His previous films reflect this sentiment as well, with his missions often benefiting MI6, or himself, but not the world at large.
In Spectrum – and in keeping with the series further embracing the old-fashioned Bond greatness – the villain’s plans are starting to reflect the tropes of “taking over the world” that the early films seemed too “mature” to contemplate. After trying to force Le Chiffre to become an informant, hunt down Vesper’s assassins, and protect his mother figure in M, Bond finally comes into the limelight for his last two films. Its goal ? To prevent SPECTER from controlling global intelligence and prevent the earth from being ravaged by targeted nanobots.
4 Bond is less afraid of torture
The infamous torture scene of Casino Royale is one of the most graphic designs in Bond history. And in a series known for its captured and interrogated hero, it’s an impressive feat. While the down-to-earth, grounded nature of torture helps, Craig’s performance sells it.
During his torture, Bond makes jokes and yells taunts as he is brutally whipped. However, it is clear that this is a coping mechanism meant to cover up his real fear and pain. No time to die does not offer a reference because Bond is not tortured in this film; the best contrast between Fall from the sky when Bond is in a situation eerily similar to Casino Royale and simply exchanges flirtatious comments with her captor.
3 He has more questions for MI6
In Casino Royale, James Bond is a staunch MI6 infantryman. Although he is very nervous and willing to do things his own way, he is still loyal to the organization, even after admitting that they would give Le Chiffre refuge if the villain killed him.
However, after M delivered it to the Americans in Quantum of Consolation, Bond begins to wonder what is really going on in his organization. In No time to die, he openly confronts the new M over MI6’s support for Project Herakles, and the two exchange harsh words.
2 He finds a purpose beyond killing
To further explore the character of Bond, some of the films during Craig’s tenure explore what Bond has in his life outside of his work for MI6. Fall from the sky shows in particular how empty Bond’s life would be without his job. At a time Fall from the sky and No time to die, when Bond leaves MI6, he is portrayed as a lonely character who spends most of his time deflecting boredom rather than doing anything satisfying.
However, during No time to die, Bond finds meaning in something other than MI6. Initially, he thinks it’s his relationship with Madeleine Swann, but after meeting his young daughter, Mathilde, Bond’s main goal is to protect her. Even in the face of certain death, he is satisfied because Mathilde will be safe.
1 James finds friends
With the stripped-down cast of his early films, Daniel Craig’s James Bond emerges as a lonely figure. Aside from her close bond with M, the only other well-known friendship that makes an appearance in Casino Royale is Felix Leiter, the two being little more than acquaintances.
As the supporting cast is presented, Bond’s circle of friends grows. Even with Leiter’s death in No time to die, after which Bond compares him to a brother, James’s eulogy is toasted by M, Q, Bill Tanner, Moneypenny and Nomi, who is the new 007. In Bond’s first appearance, such a large group would have been unthinkable.
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