Gary Thompson: In new James Bond, Lashana Lynch breaks the (martini) glass ceiling. Does it matter?

Gary Thompson, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Entertainment News

The other day, I tried an Impossible Burger, a plant-based concoction that's meant to taste like a hamburger and did, sort of.

Then I went online to read about it (note to self: next time try this first) and found that it's basically a way to deliver the same heart-stopping saturated fats we find in red meat, only through a plant pipeline.

Surely, a plant-based coronary is just as bad as any other, although the jokes may be worse (somebody call a yambulance!).

Anyway, all of this had me thinking of the recent news that in the upcoming Bond film, James has retired and the MI6 has given his 007 designation to a character played by Lashana Lynch, who is a fine actor, and British, and also a woman, and black.

This is wonderful news for Lashana Lynch. It's a big payday, and certainly takes the wheezing, retro, relic-of-the-'60s franchise in a new direction, and makes the Bond films inclusive in a new way -- Lynch isn't singing over the opening credits, or playing Moneypenny, or hopping into bed with 007. She is 007.

So the martini glass ceiling has been shattered, and that could be fun, unless this turns out to be the cinematic equivalent of an Impossible Burger -- a new way of giving us the same tiresome Bond cliches in a slightly different package.

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And when I say tiresome, that's not the disgruntled ranting of a seething Bond purist, some guy who threw a tantrum when they cast Pierce Brosnan in the role, because even then he knew, somehow, that Brosnan was better suited to singing ABBA duets with Meryl Streep in "Mamma Mia!"

No, I mean that even James Bond is sick of James Bond. Daniel Craig, who has played the character since 2006's "Casino Royale," so loathes the character that, in a 2015 interview, he said he'd rather slash his wrists than play Bond again. This from an actor who was in "Cowboys & Aliens," which many people would rather slash their wrists than watch.

The guy they originally hired to direct the latest Bond, Danny Boyle, left early on, after disputes over the screenplay, and the best name producers could come up with for the new film, so far, is ... "Bond 25." OK, I get it, that's probably a working title, but if it isn't, it's the worst name for a movie. Except, of course, for "Quantum of Solace."

So you understand why Craig may be ready to move on. The job has become increasingly ornamental -- "In this scene, Dan, you emerge from the Mediterranean wearing a Speedo" -- and in recent years it's become clear that his main job is to sell Rolex watches and fancy cars to people who can't stand to watch golf.


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