The new Bond movie is keen to highlight more positive gender credentials, while keeping the Bond-girl glamour. Does it work?

This article contains plot spoilers

In No Time to Die, James Bond is “retired” and so a new agent has taken his 007 title. “The world’s moved on, Commander Bond,” purrs Lashana Lynch’s Nomi. She⁠ – yes, she – is a young Black woman. Lynch’s casting as a member of M16 is just one of No Time to Die’s interventions, designed to refresh the franchise for a contemporary audience.

It’s a little tedious to be asked “How was the sexism?” instead of “How was the film?” Yet it’s perhaps a valid question, given the film’s two-year publicity campaign, which has been as focused on the movie’s modcons (the addition of Lynch, and Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge as co-writer) as it has on Daniel Craig’s departure. Actually, the same is not true of the film, which is a swooning retro romance, and lavish farewell party for Craig. It has been designed as a crowd-pleaser, with more jokes and sillier gadgets and less nastiness than viewers have become accustomed to in the Craig era. Waller-Bridge, drafted in for a script polish and, likely, her feminist credentials, has lightened the mood with her signature deadpan one-liners. In a mischievous ploy to redress the balance of the series’ distinctly male gaze, there are now chances for audience members to ogle Bond in various states of undress (the women remain mostly clothed). It’s the equal opportunities Bond, and Craig seems more than game.

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