With last year’s No Time To Die considered another success for the franchise that has continued to be immensely popular after 60 years, James Bond remains an icon in cinema. The James Bond movies may have incredible action scenes, but what sets the British spy franchise apart is just how cool the character is.
However, there are some things that make the franchise just a little bit less cool. There are tropes that appear in almost every Bond movie and they range from minor distractions to major issues. These are just a few of the clichés present in almost every Bond film.
Traveling The World
In the world of James Bond, it wouldn’t be a conspiracy or world domination plot worth pursuing if it didn’t take place across some of the world’s most exotic and glamorous locations. Whatever the narrative reason, the super-spy invariably finds himself flying between different countries and even continents as the movies progress.
Even Skyfall, a relatively domestic affair that largely took place in London, managed to cover at least 5 different countries. However, one advantage of this cliché is what it brings to the visual appeal of the movies, and a James Bond film that didn’t look beautiful would likely be a disappointment to an audience looking for escapist action.
Dead Men Telling Tales
Bond’s habit of fighting first and asking questions later might not be a trait that real-life intelligence agencies would appreciate very much, but it rarely seems to backfire on the spy with a license to kill. On the contrary, the criminals and assassins of the James Bond world seem to always leave clues on their bodies that can become a lead for Bond.
Whenever it looks like the case could become a dead end with no leads to follow, there is often an incompetent enough henchman around to die and leave behind an important key to advancing the plot. Many action films make use of this trope and the Bond films are no exception.
The Perfect Gadget For The Occasion
Although recent James Bond titles have lessened the spy’s reliance on gadgets, or at least made them slightly less over-the-top, they remain an important part of the movies. Bond wouldn’t be the same without the gadgets he receives from Q. Nevertheless, there is an element of slightly too much convenience in how the gadgets are employed.
As a rule, if Q gives Bond gadgets then they will all find use during the movie and the perfect situation will arise where the gadgets are needed. Additionally, the gadgets, even when they are as revolutionary and useful as the invisible car Brosnan’s Bond uses in Die Another Day, will almost certainly never be seen again after.
“The Name’s Bond. James Bond.”
Being an elite secret agent with a sharp fashion sense and a taste for the finer things, James Bond is able to get away with a lot more than other characters while still looking cool. Lines that would normally be cheesy, like a bad pun after killing a bad guy, don’t seem quite as bad when said by a character as badass as Bond.
Unfortunately, as time has passed, the novelty of some of these lines has worn off, and that includes Bond’s iconic introductory phrase. Perhaps older Bonds were more able to pull the line off, but nowadays the character saying his surname before elaborating just seems a little awkward and stilted.
Whilst the situation has improved with characters like Nomi in No Time To Die breaking boundaries and putting women at the forefront of the series, this hasn’t always been the case. More specifically, women in James Bond films have traditionally been used as little more than objects that only exist to show off how suave the main character is.
Despite that, there have been some great Bond girls who demonstrate that there’s more to it than just being the woman Bond sleeps with. Nevertheless, the female characters in Bond films have tended to be one-dimensional and the sometimes awful attitudes shown towards them, especially in older movies such as The Man With The Golden Gun.
James Bond Going Rogue
The main character going off the rails and coming into conflict with their own organization is a trope that seems to exist in almost every action movie. Bond manages to avoid this a lot of the time, though his independent nature, impulsiveness, and extravagant tastes do often cause tension with MI6 and M in particular.
However, sometimes the character does go further and ends up defying his own organization. In Licence To Kill, for example, Timothy Dalton’s Bond is suspended from MI6 but continues to pursue drug lord Franz Sanchez alone. More recently, Bond clashed with his employers in Skyfall when he seems unable to pass their fitness tests.
James Bond Getting Betrayed
Whether it’s done by hastily introduced characters and everyone sees it coming or whether it’s heartbreakingly brutal like Vesper in Casino Royale, Bond is all too often the victim of betrayal. Given that Bond himself is a spy whose job it is to gain people’s trust while actively working against them, it’s surprising the character isn’t usually more suspicious.
However, barely a Bond film goes by where he isn’t stabbed in the back by a character who was supposedly his ally or his lover. Treachery when used right can be a great plot device to add tension to any story, but it’s hard to be surprised when it occurs in a Bond film after how abundant the trope has been.
Overly Talkative Villains
Villains have a bad habit of engineering their own downfall in the Bond franchise. Even iconic bad guys like Auric Goldfinger who own all the cards and just need to ensure Bond is dead in order to complete their master plan somehow manage to rescue defeat from the jaws of victory.
When villains should be disposing of Bond, they instead end up making long dramatic monologues and, in doing so, expose the full extent of their plans and how exactly Bond should go about preventing them. This cliché has been the key to many Bond films but it’s hard not to think how easily the villains could potentially win if they didn’t feel the need to talk at such length.
Defusing The Bomb At The Last Second
A frustrating movie cliché that Reddit wants to see ended, Bond movies are not immune to the trope of a countdown that gets down to the last number before the main character is able to save the day. In Octopussy, for example, Roger Moore’s Bond pulls the detonator from a bomb with the timer on exactly 0, a situation made even more absurd by how childishly easy it is for him to defuse the bomb.
Whilst the tension a ticking clock scenario can add to a film is great, there are definitely right and wrong ways to do it. However, with the number of times audiences have seen a bomb timer ticking down that low, it’s hard to feel any sense of suspense when it is only likely to end one way.
Proof that not everything Bond does is always cool, corny innuendos are an iconic part of the character’s history, though plenty of viewers may wish that they weren’t. Though not all of them are as bad as the infamous “Re-entry” line at the end of Moonraker, the series has never shied away from cheesy double-entendre.
In the age of Daniel Craig’s more gritty Bond, this may be a trope that is already starting to disappear from the franchise as dry quips have become more the norm. Nevertheless, innuendos have been one of the defining clichés of Bond films across the years.
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