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“This Bond Ripples with Muscles”

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Richard Cohen:

This Bond ripples with muscles. Craig is 44, but neither gravity nor age has done its evil work on him. Nothing about him looks natural, relaxed — a man in the prime of his life and enjoying it. Instead, I see a man chasing youth on a treadmill, performing sets and reps, a clean and press, a weighted knee raise, an incline pushup and, finally, something called an incline pec fly (don’t ask). I take these terms from the Daniel Craig Workout, which you can do, too, if your agent and publicist so insist. Otherwise, I recommend a book.

“Skyfall” is a lot of fun — don’t get me wrong — but it still says something about our culture that, in the autumn of my years, I do not like. To appreciate what I mean, contrast this new Bond to Roger O. Thornhill, the charmingly hapless advertising man played by Cary Grant in “North by Northwest.” Like Bond, Thornhill pulls off some amazing physical feats — his mad frantic escape from the crop duster, the traverse of Mount Rushmore — and like Bond he wears an expensive suit. Unlike Bond, though, when he takes it off we do not see some marbleized man, an ersatz creation of some trainer, but a fit man, effortlessly athletic and just as effortlessly sophisticated.

Indeed; casual fitness…

and effortless athleticism…

were totally a thing for major male stars in the 1950s. Maybe SEK should write something on it.

See also Alyssa; one of the most interesting developments in the Craig Bond films is that the camera treats Bond in a fashion normally reserved for a Bond girl. I should note that while I didn’t love Skyfall (James Bond does not need to become Bruce Wayne), I did find the first Bond-Silva meeting to be a very interesting. While villains over the years have certainly threatened Bond with emasculation, Silva implies a very different kind of sexual assault. I also found it interesting that Bond makes his “how do you know it’s my first time?” comment after Silva mentions Bond’s childhood trauma, leading me to wonder whether Bond is trying to imply that a) he’s had a sexual encounter with a man before, or b) he’s been sexually assaulted before.

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