Playing James Bond on the big screen means joining an elite fraternity of actors all trying to live up to the glory days of the franchise’s past. Roger Moore was always fighting to get out from under the shadow of Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton struggled to set himself apart from Moore, and so on. The good news is you get to play one of cinema’s most indelible roles; the bad news is for some people you’ll never be good enough for it.
Like current Bond Daniel Craig, Pierce Brosnan was once considered the savior of the franchise, pulling it out of dormancy with Goldeneye in 1995 and cranking out four increasingly silly movies over seven years. By the time Die Another Day came out in 2002, Brosnan and company were making the pun-heavy, gadget-laden Roger Moore days look positively restrained (and remember, the Moore era featured a submarine car, Jaws and a character named “Holly Goodhead”). So when Craig rolled out with his gritty, steely-eyed take on the character, we all took a great big breath of fresh air.
Now Craig has logged his fourth Bond effort, Spectre, and it’s high time Brosnan stepped in and appraised his successor. So what did he think?
“I was looking forward to it enormously,” Brosnan told HitFix. “I thought it was too long. The story was kind of weak — it could have been condensed. It kind of went on too long. It really did.”
Now, as hard as many of us are on Brosnan for his light, often just plain wacky Bond days, he has a point. I didn’t hate Spectre, but I did feel like it was absolutely crawling for significant portions of its running time. And though it packs plenty of callbacks and some refreshing gags, the overall plot still seemed to take itself too seriously. Just as Brosnan’s films, particularly the final two, could’ve used a little shot of Craig ferocity, so too could Craig’s most recent effort use a little Brosnan smirk.
Still, it wasn’t all bad for Brosnan. In fact, he seems to admire Craig himself quite a lot.
“He’s a mighty warrior, and I think he found a great sense of himself in this one with the one-liners and a nice playfulness there. Just get a tighter story, and he’ll have another classic.”
I’d like to think Brosnan has a point. Then again, Spectre’s already raked in half a billion at the box office, so what do I know?