While the James Bond franchise has been obligated to move with the times, because you bet your ass a 2021 movie with a 1962 mindset would be burned at the online stake the second it was announced, there are several tropes that need to remain in place so it feels like a genuine 007 blockbuster.
There must be gadgets, perhaps a martini or two made in the secret agent’s preferred style, an Aston Martin, sharply tailored suits and a love interest. Bond girls are just as important to the mythology as the title hero in some regards, but they too have been in need for an overhaul as we continue to move through the 21st Century.
Monica Bellucci’s casting in Spectre was praised for the sole reason she’s older than Daniel Craig, while Gemma Arterton regrets her role in Quantum of Solace. Ana de Armas plays fully trained and highly capable CIA agent Paloma in No Time to Die, and the Knives Out star explained to CNN why she doesn’t want to be called a Bond girl.
“I think this movie is ‘Bond women,’ ‘Bond girls’. They’re highly skilled, they’re powerful and they all show it in their own way. They’re equals to Bond. Times change, and I think that is reflected in the film.”
With de Armas’ Paloma and Lashana Lynch’s Nomi on the scene, not to mention Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s involvement with the screenplay, No Time to Die has arguably done more for strong female characters in a James Bond movie than any of the previous 24 action-packed adventures, and that’s without even mentioning Naomie Harris’ Moneypenny or Léa Seydoux’s Madeleine Swann, so at least the final film of the Craig era is making amends to a certain degree.