Grant Mitchell

I was late to the game with James Bond. I didn’t watch any of the movies until I saw “Skyfall” in 2013. Watching that movie changed a lot of things for me. It showed me that regardless of a film’s genre, you shouldn’t go in with preconceived notion for what a movie’s limitations will be.

Before I say anymore, I want to warn you that this article will have many spoilers, so if you don’t want to have anything from the new Bond film “No Time to Die,” spoiled for you, then read no further.

Daniel Craig came to the James Bond role with his debut film premiering in 2006 with “Casino Royale” showing audiences that he certainly had the unique blend of acting chops and prowess in stunt work that the modern James Bond character calls for.

From that point, there were several defining traits unique to Daniel Craig’s interpretation of the James Bond character.

Primarily the one that I think will forever endear Daniel Craig as my favorite Bond is in the emotional depth of the character we saw from Craig’s Bond. From the very first important relationship he had on-screen with love interest Vesper in “Casino Royale,” to the last and most impactful one he had with Léa Seydoux’s Madeleine in “Spectre” and “No Time to Die,” there were so many moments of vulnerability we hadn’t really seen from Bond before.

Again, I came to this James Bond thing relatively late, but watching all of Craig’s films after having seen “Skyfall” before “Casino Royale,” and all the others left a unique impression on me as to who I think James Bond is supposed to be.

In “Skyfall,” we see a James Bond who is not as surefooted as he once was. He is damaged, broken physically and mentally while drifting through the world without a purpose or meaning. For the character of Bond, “Skyfall” serves not only as a bit of an origin story for the character, but also as a film that recalibrates the human we are watching in front of us.

“Skyfall” shared with us that Bond’s previous missions always follow him and inhabit his heart and mind no matter how much time passes or what other obstacles or missions enter his life.

While “Spectre” failed to capitalize on “Skyfall’s” success and failed to say anything truly important, Bond’s relationship with Seydoux’s Madeleine became the fitting final piece needed for Craig’s Bond to truly find a solace and resting place previously not found.

For me, Daniel Craig will always be my James Bond.

I grew up watching his movies and knowing only him as my James Bond. Even after watching other Bonds in Connery, Brosnan and Moore, I found no equal to Craig’s Bond.

When I went to see “No Time to Die” this past week, I had a knot in my stomach. I didn’t know what was going to happen and I just wanted everything to work out and be okay for Craig’s Bond at least one time.

While Rami Malek’s villain was forgettable and his ultimate reason for being evil lacked conviction, Bond and all the characters that mattered had great lines of dialogue, performances and conclusions to their stories.

“No Time to Die” is a film that gave Bond the life and family he always wanted with his love interest Madeleine and their daughter Mathilde.

My only regret is that Bond never got to enjoy any of that life more than for a few moments.

A life full of pursuit after meaning and purpose ends in Bond getting everything he could ever want only to know that fate won’t let him have more than a few days with the family he loves and has sought ever since his parents died when he was a child.

As Bond talks to Madeleine for the last time miles away as he sees his death coming from the missiles above, he has tears in his eyes. Madeleine cries while telling Bond that their daughter has his eyes.

Bond smiles while watching the missiles like a child watches fireworks, and responds that he knows. The missiles hit right in front of Bond and he disappears into the furious light and sound of explosions.

I wanted a happy ending for Craig’s Bond, an opportunity for happiness. But I also understand that Bond and his family would never have been safe from all his enemies had he lived.

“No Time to Die” is a film that was filled with bittersweet emotion for me. I still remember watching “Skyfall” for the first time and falling in love with Craig’s Bond. Now, almost a full decade later, I feel a sense of loss of a great character in James Bond and at never being able to see Craig’s Bond again. But I also feel a pit in my stomach because Craig’s Bond was a character who encountered so much strife and pain in his life and only received a moment or two of the life he deserved just as his time on earth was ending.

I don’t know entirely how to feel about “No Time to Die” because of my conflicting emotions around how Bond’s story should have ended.

All I can say is: Thank you Daniel Craig for being such a big part of my and other movie fan’s lives, we’ll miss your Bond and appreciate all you have done for the character.

Grant T. Mitchell is a senior at UT this year majoring in public relations. He can be reached at gmitch16@vols.utk.edu.

Columns and letters of The Daily Beacon are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Beacon or the Beacon's editorial staff.

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