I’ve changed my mind.
Roger Moore remains my favourite Bond. Maybe for nostalgic reasons, definitely because of a love for the quip and the comic ability – the sense of fun he invested in the action hero. For the longest time, my argument view was, not only was he my favourite, but Moore was the best Bond. Very recently though I changed my mind.
There is a good argument to put together that when you consider Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day that is a solid set of Bond films. Even the weakest of these (arguably the first one) is still a credible Bond movie. As opposed to some of the other flops his predecessors would experience, Brosnan’s Bond films lived up to expectations. The last one in particular – released to celebrate 40 years of Bond was an excellent Bond movie both staying faithful to the character and also stretching him in places previously unseen in a Bond movie.
Brosnan’s background had seemed to have made it his destiny to take on the role. Whether it was the seal of approval by the producers even in the Moore era or his performances in roles like Remington Steele which would indicate that he could play the part well. The timing to take on the role was perfect and despite his disappointment at not doing a fifth one he stayed in the role for the right length of time so no one could fault his performances right to the very end.
Bringing in a reminder of the sex appeal that Bond should emit and that element of charm and rapier wit that Moore had invested, Brosnan also gives the role the edge and steel as well as physicality that makes most people believe he is an action hero. Weaving the best of all his predecessors Brosnan exhibited a quintessential take on the role that surpassed even Connery’s iconic stamp. Showing vulnerability or enduring confidence, in tragedy or in pleasure Brosnan’s Bond ushered such life into the role that the franchise thrived despite the concerns of how a hero of the Cold War could survive after it was over.
Critics argued that the Brosnan era got too focussed on the gadgets and less about the characters. Even if there was more usage of action set-pieces and spectacular stunts the storylines were still fit for a Bond movie and held up to scrutiny. More importantly the central character was still the big deal in the whole piece. People came to watch Bond assured in the knowledge that in Brosnan the character was all that they expected him to be and always with a little bit more. For all the developments the role underwent it never departed from its core mission of seeing the spy come in to save the world from a significant threat.