Licence to Kill (1989)
In 1995, the James Bond series was rejuvenated after the series' longest hiatus to date. Out went the stern Timothy Dalton and in came the suave Pierce Brosnan who combined Roger Moore's elegance and tongue-in-cheek humour with a more modern and direct action approach. The series had been made edgier towards the end of 1980s, and GoldenEye recaptures this approach whilst combining it with well-paced action in the best 1990s style. Brosnan is at his best-looking here, making Bond more believable as a sex symbol than the agent had been in a long time. At the same time, he comes off as a highly believable spy and killer. He is comfortable with the Bond cliches and is also able to refresh them.
Refreshing is also the script, despite some flaws and improbabilities. The villains are larger than life and delightfully idiosyncratic, from the nerdy Boris, to the fascinating Trevelyan and the outrageously funny Xenia Onatopp, and the script is somewhat back to basic, with large-scale schemes that aren't rushed. It is a pleasant surprise to see Bond acting as a classic spy again, which he does here in several segments. In GoldenEye, the main themes are friendship, loyalty and Bond's ability to love, with the Bond/Trevelyan relation being particularly interesting in this respect. The skilled director Martin Campbell doesn't make his film too political, despite some historical justifications. Instead he creates a modern, enjoyable and quite suspenseful Bond which stands as the best 007 adventure in recent decades.