A few observations I have made regarding myself involves film/theatre... One is that I find I do not much care for theatre or entertainment... except... I was and remain a huge Monty Python fan, and I am a huge 007 fan, little else do I like, and what makes this ever more odd is I am a very proud American, and though I respect the allies of the US, I have always felt perplexed by Americans interested in the Royal family or the more extreme social welfare programs favored by the Laboure party in British parliament, the ones that are straight up self-proclaimed Marxist and the ones who stand firm against hunting even though the UK does still have a few hunters left, but I feel the only entertainment worth a crap is Monty Python and James Bond. Granted though guns set us free from serfdom, there are still plenty of fine Brits. Many funny Brits. Many smart Brits.
A second thing perplexing about me... One of the things I detest about "Hollywood" and "TV" is the fairly broad obsession with "morbid curiosity." I have never understood how humans have a capacity for it, and it seems far more common than what I have ever been comfortable with, making finding good films and shows difficult to find. It seems most that have violent elements are entirely too macabre -- far more macabre than what is necessary to tell the story. Part of what I have liked about the 007 franchise is that even though violence is inherent to the genre, there isn’t a heavy focus on being graphical about it. I find films that get graphic in the portrayals very disturbing, and I have always found that a very disturbing element of humanity that ever since I in college I read Friedrich Nietzsche's famous words, "... if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you." (As one translation to English reads.) I always think of that every time when I think of Hollywood productions or TV shows.) as well as the Don Henley's "Dirty Laundry" and basically all of the work of Hobbs. It seems these figures point to this rather dark disturbing nature that can easily consume a culture. I don't like spending much time thinking in a "Lord of the Flies"/Judas Iscariot/Beyond Good and Evil (though yes that's complicated)/Hobbesian vintage point though I understand the relevance and importance of the elements all of these works explore, but the power of "morbid curiosity" and ability to completely disconnect oneself from empathy and sympathy has always been disturbing to me though certainly to the brave men on the beaches of Normandy it becomes clear how the monsters that can live within can wreak havoc on large scales.
As such, I like the focus on the heroism in the 007 franchise without embellishment with blood and gore. To this day, it still retains a lot of the old school "bang, bang, bang", move along, and not some focus on gore. It focuses on whit and heroism and toughness. While it does present a seemingly cold and callus nature as we commonly see played out between M (Mission Head) and 007, I like that the films make clear even if subtle the love and the bond and respect between them while communicating they have to be tough to do what they do. I also like that the 007 franchise brings humor, but not black humor, into the action and excitement. For this reason, the 007 franchise is truly the only action/adventure franchise I like, and I have liked it all my life whether bond was portrayed by Connery, Moore, Bronson, Dalton, Daniel Craig or good ole what’s-his-name. At first when I saw Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, it seemed a tougher transition to me than the transition from Connery, Moore or Dalton, but by the end of the film, I realized he was really good, and I always loved Q (Quarter master) so I hated to see the old Q go. It was hard to let him go. He was such a likable fun old man though this new young kid has done well. And for the M we have known and loved for so many years, well... that brings me to another interesting point. I rarely watch movies. I rarely have time for them, and they rarely entertain, but when I do finally have a couple of hours to spare for a movie, I do usually like to make sure I catch up on any Bond film I may have missed. The only ones I saw out of sequence were Spectre and Skyfall. Since I saw Spectre first, I feared I was in for a heart wrenching moment in Skyfall, and I was right. I grew to love Judi Dench in the previous 6. I hadn't seen news of her departing the franchise so I just suspected that since she wasn't M in Spectre, it is possible she didn't merely retire or get forced into retirement, and sadly it wasn't retirement. She played the role so well, and her stern but respectful and loving and smart and witty character was played so well by her. I also see this is where Penny Money entered the franchise. She does very well. She kicks butt in the opening of the film.
The movie starts strong as Bond films do. It doesn't keep you waiting for action. There is never a dull moment. Yes... Bond films do still have oh... a tad of unrealism to them such as heroes surviving impossible hits and impossible odds, but it is action packed and honors a bit of the old school tradition of the movies where Bruce lee or Chuck Norris might kick the butts of an Army of men all by themselves without ever focusing on graphic portrayal of the human suffering inherent to conflict, just as with old "bang, bang" shoot 'em up Westerns, but at the same time, it isn't the low fidelity of Godzilla (though even given the low fidelity of Godzilla, I do understand how and why that movie is special to a culture). These movies (even if metaphorically in Godzilla) represent the real struggles for peace, but I like that it shows the tremendous commitment people make to seek peace and keep peace while not belaboring the terror or horrors, and instead showing more the Roosevelt spirit of pushing on and working together while also trying to find occasional humor even in the midst of it all. I see this as somewhat of a key element in these portrayals as if to say the sense of humor even if slight is a key part to staying sane and not going crazy as the antagonist often do in the films.
I look forward to the long awaited released of No Time to Die. I imagine it will be hard to see whomever comes next now that it has been announced that Daniel Craig is retiring from the franchise.
I do almost sort of like the Mission Impossible franchise, but Cruise comes off as a prick and he doesn't have any of the whit that the bonds have, and sadly, I couldn’t even make it through a single Bourne film. Sorry Matt Damon. I mean you seem like a great guy, but you just don't make a great entertainer, and I have difficulty seeing you as a tough guy... though honestly, it was difficult to see Sean Connery as a tough guy but his whit made up for his lack of toughness.
Interestingly... what I have seen of the Kingsman franchise I have enjoyed too so it does appear I am partial to Brits when it comes to entertainment. I know little of the Kingsman but accidentally saw one of the movies around 20 years ago and was very intrigued. I may need to dive into this franchise and see more of it.)
In summary, it is fun. It is action packed. It doesn't haven't anything to repulsive or too not suitable for families. It does have Komodo dragons like one of the bond films had a shark tank, and I may be overlooking a few that had slightly disturbing elements, but they are brief and are not graphic thankfully. There is one small gripe I have with this one bond film. It is so small I will not take away a star for it. I do not like in films when there are long dark scenes. I feel it is "Hollywood" being lazy. Though I watched all of the Prates of the Caribbean movies, I didn't like any of them, and if it were for Johnny Depp's humor and Kiera Knightley's beauty, there'd been no way I could have watched them. Almost the entire Pirates movies were dark. It seems the producer are being lazy so they cannot think or bother with how to portray or shoot the action and just instead provide a few sound bites to make their way through those parts. This bond film has about 15 to 20 minutes in extreme darkness that you can hardly see what is even happening and just have to listen to what it going on. It is still taking me a bit to warm up to Ralph Fiennes but partly because he was intentionally an ambiguous character at first in the franchise, leaving us unsure whose side he was on, or at least me... Whereas I always liked Judi even with her sternness.