Nobody does it higher? I’m not so certain anymore.

The James Bond movie collection has, of late, grown extra stale and fewer distinctive with each passing entry. “Quantum of Solace,” “Skyfall” and “Spectre” all had bland villains, the identical un-sexy “Bond goes rogue” routine and a prevailing sense of aimlessness.

They’re simply no enjoyable.

Nothing makes the Bond franchise’s unhappy decline extra abundantly clear than the most recent, wonderful “Mission: Impossible” film, “Fallout.” Everything 007 used to have in a chokehold — European automobile chases, fearsome hand-to-hand fight sequences, superior devices — “MI” now does larger and higher.

After 22 years, six motion pictures and with a star who’s 56, Ethan Hunt has KO’d James Bond.

How does “MI” keep wanting so recent and younger? Rejuvenating inexperienced juice photographs? Turmeric scrubs? Infrared masks?

Try energetic and inventive filmmaking, and a star who really cares about his function.

“It really has been quite a ride. Very exciting,” Tom Cruise mentioned in a 2015 interview to advertise “Rogue Nation.” “To see how global audiences have embraced Ethan and the franchise.” Cruise additionally produces the movies, and commits to a grueling coaching routine to do all of his personal stunts. He’s not on cruise-control.

Compare that to what Daniel Craig informed Time Out the identical 12 months once they requested the actor if he might think about making one other Bond movie:

“Now? I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists,” mentioned the Octo-wussy. “No, not at the moment. Not at all. That’s fine. I’m over it at the moment. We’re done. All I want to do is move on.”

Of course, Mr. Live and Let Cry will likely be again for the 25th movie in 2019.

Craig’s nose-up angle towards the long-lasting collection that made him a family identify has at all times been obvious on-screen — it’s simply been confused for manly brooding. However, like remaining in a poisonous relationship for the perceived comfort of it, maybe shifting on can be greatest for everyone.

“MI” additionally has stored a agency sense of identification: End-of-the-world plotlines, insane and actual stunts, fab femmes fatales and a lightweight tone regardless of the hazard. The filmmakers add intelligent touches to that formulation, however for essentially the most half they stick with it.

Like no franchise aside from, maybe, “Star Wars,” James Bond is beloved by followers for its nostalgia: the retro kitsch, the class, the womanizing, the Cold War crime fixing. But in a tiresome effort to modernize 007, they’ve stripped away these distinguishing components, making the character not all that distinct from Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne, or Liam Neeson in something, actually.

For James Bond to regain its high quality — to not point out its place in popular culture — could also be mission: not possible.

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