I grew up as a major fan of James Bond. At first, when I was young, I liked Roger Moore, and then, as I got older, I came to appreciate Sean Connery more. I remember seeing the Timothy Dalton features, and I have seen both the current incarnation starring Daniel Craig.
But seminary does a strange thing to a guy’s head! And one thing I have never been able to shake is that, as presented, Bond is not only licensed to kill, he seems also licensed to break practically every commandment on the books. In what Bond movie does he not kill, bear false witness, commit adultery, steal, and so forth?
I think the root of why we like Bond is that we want fast justice, but our highly complex and regulated world often prevents this. Bond movies always have some notorious bad guy trying to blow up or change the world (for the worse), and we want someone to go after him without being encumbered with a rule book the size of the New York City Yellow Pages. It feels good to see justice enacted quickly (and even to see Bond kissing his girlfriend to boot).
But I wonder sometimes how much our entertainment numbs us to right and wrong. At what point are the good guys still good if they are basically using the same tactics as the bad guys? Is someone still good just because they are fighting someone worse?
Although I haven’t seen the movie Watchmen, I understand this is the basic plot. The ‘superheroes’ aren’t so super anymore because they are as morally flawed as everyone else.
No one wants some squeeky clean Dudley Do-Right as a hero. Such characters seem fake in our challenging world. Whoever faces the ‘bad guys’ needs to be tough and wise to their ways. But how are we to be ‘good guys’ in this complex world without changing who we are?
Who do you see as a positive hero in modern fiction (movies, tv shows, novels)? Someone living in the real world who does not resort to the tactics of their enemies? What do you think?
All the best and In Christ,