With so many weighty subjects to ponder, it’s fun to flee into escapism now and again. Before the superheroes and space cadets took over the action movie genre, one name stood out as a go-to diversion: Bond, James Bond.

The Bond films had their faults — the use of gorgeous women (Bond “girls”) as props comes to mind. In the Brosnan/Craig Bond era there were laughable attempts to atone by adding “Dr.” or “CEO” to the otherwise indelicate monikers. 

Bond satisfied our desire for quick fixes for complex problems. The 00 “license to kill” and the opening credits’ meme — looking out of the barrel of a rifle — made clear that 007 would not be negotiating an end to the nuclear threat du jour. Bond never says, “So, Blofeld, we meet again. Let’s sit down and talk this through.”

007 will be changing again. Lashana Lynch will take over the number, though not the name, in a film debuting in 2020. (She ... let that word sink in for a moment ... will probably not have a name like “Leticia Goodbody.”) Will 007’s missions change to match the times? The nuclear threats are still with us, but further down our list of fears than they were in the last half of the last century. We can imagine the following scene in a secure room in Ministry MI-6:

M: “Come in, 007. Sit down. What I’m about to tell you is shocking. Our satellites have captured images of billions of arch-villains across the globe trying to destroy human life on Earth.”

007: “That’s most dire, Sir. What are they doing?”

M: “I’ll show you some examples. Here’s a clip of Emma Flotsam of 198 Profumo Lane, East Whittlesfarthing. Do you see what she’s doing?”

007: “My God! She’s, she’s ... tossing used plastic bags into a stream! Has this fiend no conscience?!”

M: “Exactly. Here’s another: Sir Geoffrey Giffordshire-Lamprey, setting fire to a huge pile of leaves that his servants raked up, rather than composting them. There are many other examples, some reaching into the highest levels of world government and industry.”

007: “Do you want me to kill them? I’m licensed to, you know.” 

M: “That would take a rather long time, and we’re running out of time. Within your lifetime, young as you are, the effects on the planet will become irreversible.”

007: “Meaning no disrespect, Sir, but even with all my secret gadgets and combat abilities, how can I stop people from slowly killing themselves, let alone cleaning up the damage that’s already been done? Isn’t that a job for Captain Marvel or Super—?”

M: “Don’t even say it! Listen to me, 007, you’ve got to snap out of this fantasy life of yours. No fictional hero is going to save us from this.”

louie@hmbreview.com  is shaken, not stirred. On Twitter: @louiecastoria  

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