I think my dad let me watch my first James Bond movie when I was 8. Admittedly, this was probably too young, but Thunderball is a hell of a movie. I remember it coming on TV and then my dad telling me that I should watch it. Since then, I was hooked.
My dad grew up poor, and as such he doesn’t really have a lot of fond experiences that he speaks of about his childhood. What he does remember though, is that whenever my grandfather could scrounge together enough money to take him out, it would always be to a movie, specifically, a Bond movie. To this day, he loves all the Bond films, and I think one of his favorite memories is when my sister and I took the whole family out to go watch Skyfall in theaters.
Let’s get something out of the way first, the first James Bond movie you see is a life-changing experience for a guy. You see this paragon of masculinity, for better or worse, and you want to emulate it. He is ruthlessly competent at his job, dressed immaculately, and uses his considerable charm to seduce gorgeous women. Once you get a bit older, you realize that he’s a government contracted serial killer with a stunning streak of misogyny.
In Japan, James Bond is known colloquially as “Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”, which I think is just the most apt name for the character ever. It takes the wind out of the sails of what can be a character who can be taken a little too seriously at times. James Bond is just one of those things that you don’t exactly anticipate, but when it comes to theaters, you go to watch it anyways. So here’s to one of the most storied characters in fiction.