James Bond as Christ Figure?

Huge, huge spoiler alert ahead…

Although it’s been argued that Daniel Craig’s Bond in Skyfall exemplifies Jesus Christ, I’m turning toward M as the real, if reluctant, Christ figure here. Throughout the movie, M (Judi Dench) is digitally harassed—and persecuted—to “Think on Your Sins.” Through her leadership position, M absorbs the “sins” of the judgment calls that seemingly betrayed former MI6 agents. And although these don’t quite align with Jesus absorbing humanity’s sins that expand generations, M seems tough enough that she could do that too.

Near the end of the movie M is put on trial for these sins (parallel that with Jesus’ trial) and is harassed by government officials (the Romans). Jesus’ trial did not begin with an underground chase and end with a shoot-out—think how much cooler Christianity would be then—but neither he nor M could outrun their fate.

In the end, M dies for our sins, killed by a stray bullet shot by one of Silva’s henchmen (all right, so she doesn’t die for our sins, but rather for the sins that MI6 had to commit as an organization to continue functioning). It’s important that Silva dies first—Silva could even be seen as a Judas figure, betraying both M and MI6 as a whole, but even that’s a bit of a stretch—because it provides that good-wins/evil-loses balance we all need as moviegoers.

What’s great about comparing modern films with historical religion is that potential parallels keep emerging. For example, my movie date, a self-described film buff, views Bond as the traditional Christ figure and M as Judas, because of Bond’s opening baptism and resurrection scene and M gaining the trust and then betraying M16. Either way, Skyfall’s biblically-inspired narratives are nothing new, but my God it is a beautiful movie.

joanna.piacenza@gmail.com'

Joanna Piacenza is a graduate student in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. She serves as an Associate Researcher for the Center for Media Religion & Culture and as a Graduate Research Assistant for the Center for Asian Studies.