It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Not every man would like to be James Bond, but every boy would. In one adventure after another, he saves the world, defeats bizarre villains, gets to play with neat gadgets and seduces, or is seduced by, stupendously sexy women (this last attribute appeals less to boys younger than 12).
He is a hero, but not a bore. Even faced with certain death, he can cheer himself by focusing instead on the possibility that first he might get lucky. He's obsessed with creature comforts, a trial to his superiors, a sophisticate in all material things and able to parachute into enemy territory and be wearing a tuxedo five minutes later. When it comes to movie spies, Agent 007 is full-service, one-stop shopping.
James Bond is the most durable of this century's movie heroes, and the one most likely to last well into the next--although Sherlock Holmes of course is also immortal, and Tarzan is probably good for a retread. (The "Star Wars" (1977) and "Star Trek" movies are disqualified because they do not have a single hero or a continuous time frame.)
One reason for Bond's longevity among series heroes is quality control; while almost all the Bond films have the same producing team, Tarzan has been the hero of films of wildly divergent quality. And while Holmes has inspired more revisionist interpretations than Hamlet, Bond is consistently Bond: He remains recognizably the same man he was in 1962, when "Dr. No" first brought Ian Fleming's spy to the screen. Even the crypto-Bonds, like the oddball David Niven hero of the maverick "Casino Royale" (1967), or the spoof Bonds, like Our Man Flint and Matt Helm, follow the general outlines of the Fleming legend. He is an archetype so persuasive that to change him would be sacrilegious.