is no doubt one of the most macho movie franchises of all time, but from the moment I saw Goldeneye as a little gay kid at a friend's house, I was hooked. The titular spy is usually a smooth-talking womanizer, a hot straight dude who beats people up and drives awesome cars. But Bond movies also feature badass and fabulous women, tons of drama and some serious emotional moments -- exactly what a little gay kid wants.
Daniel Craig's turn as Bond has shaken things up, seriously modernizing the franchise in terms of both style and story. No Time to Die is the 25th official Bond movie and Craig's last -- and it introduces the franchise's first out gay character in a moment that got me emotional.
Note: One light spoiler ahead.
About halfway through the film, Bond and Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) show up at Q's house unannounced to do some secret planning outside of MI6's purview. Before they arrive, we get a quick montage of Q (Ben Whishaw) preparing a romantic dinner for two while wearing an apron, and his visible excitement at the doorbell ringing turns to annoyance when he sees who's actually at the door.
When Bond and Moneypenny see the set table and cooked dinner, Q says, "He'll be here in 20 minutes," after implying that this is the first time he's had his date over. That "he" is what really got me. It's the first time ever in a James Bond movie that a character has been explicitly gay, and it's actually acknowledged out loud, no less. It's a bit of a throwaway line, and Bond and Moneypenny don't even react -- instead they start drinking Q's wine and making fun of his hairless cat.
Q's identity isn't played up as a major moment or revelation. It felt natural and was something the other characters seemingly already knew about. I think that's what made the impact even more profound for me: It didn't seem like pandering or fan service when it easily could have. I found myself tearing up, and I know I'm far from the only queer Bond fan that the moment had an effect on. Sure, it's minor in terms of representation, but it's something my younger self never imagined would actually happen.
This isn't to say there haven't been implied queer characters or super gay moments before. Diamonds Are Forever's Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd are definitely a couple, holding hands and finishing each other's sentences. In Skyfall, Bond and villain Silva (Javier Bardem) have a homoerotic interrogation scene -- and don't even get me started on the naked torture sequence in Casino Royale. Hell, Blofeld even dressed in drag in Diamonds Are Forever.
But pretty much all of those characters and moments have been villainous, stereotypical or only hinted at -- or a combination of the three. Having a main supporting character be openly gay in a franchise like Bond is a big deal, made better by the fact that Whishaw is gay himself. And because Q appears in every Bond movie and is sometimes played by the same actor even when Bond is recast, Whishaw's gay Q could appear in future Bond movies.
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Plus, No Time to Die is just one of the campiest and gayest James Bond movies ever. Craig wears super-tight and short swim trunks in multiple scenes -- a callback to Casino Royale's iconic beach moment -- and we even get a naked shower scene. Co-writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge's influence is all over the script, especially in the quips that are a departure from the other Craig movies. Ana de Armas' cocktail-chugging character Paloma is instantly iconic, exactly what gays want from a Bond girl: beautiful, funny and just plain badass. Léa Seydoux gives an award-worthy, emotional performance as Dr. Madeleine Swann, with tons of scenes of her crying and/or screaming while looking absolutely fabulous. And I'd be remiss to not mention Lashana Lynch's excellent portrayal of the new 007, Nomi, who absolutely deserves a spinoff.
It's clear that Cary Joji Fukunaga wanted to take risks with No Time to Die, from the styling and direction to the storyline and performances. The movie throws back to On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the strange one-off starring George Lazenby that's my personal favorite of the whole franchise. And it's setting up the franchise for the possibility of a James Bond that doesn't fit the traditional straight white male archetype. While I doubt we'll see a gay James Bond anytime soon, the hope of more progressive stories and character representation has me excited for what comes next.
No Time To Die was released Sept. 30 in the UK and Oct. 8 in the US. It'll be released in Australia on Nov. 11.