Reacher Star’s Criticism Exposes Bond 26’s Biggest Challenge

Recent comments made by Reacher star Alan Ritchson about the 007 franchise highlight the biggest challenge Bond 26 has to overcome.

Ritchson, who plays the titular hero Jack Reacher in the Amazon Prime Video show, has given his honest thoughts about the James Bond movies. Among his comments, Ritchson referred to Reacher as the “American James Bond”. Though his criticisms weren’t entirely constructive, Ritchson’s remarks reinforce a perception about the 007 series that Bond 26 must strive to shake off.

Alan Ritchson has starred as Jack Reacher in two seasons of the hit action show. The actor has won acclaim for his work on the series, and in doing so, Ritchson has proven he’s the perfect Jack Reacher. Similarities have been noted between the characters of Reacher and James Bond and, as such, Ritchson’s name is one of several that have been mentioned in association with the role of 007. Now Ritchson has given his own thoughts on the comparison, and they demonstrate a problem with the Bond franchise that Bond 26 must resolve.

Alan Ritchson’s James Bond Criticism Is Wrong – But Shows Bond 26’s Challenge

There’s A Certain Perception Regarding 007 That Needs To Be Changed

Alan Ritchson as Jack looking out the window in the bus in Reacher season 2 finale

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Ritchson said of the Bond films, “I love Bond, but I feel like it’s a little misogynistic and predictable at this point.” While these comments are brutally honest and clear, it’s not Ritchson’s criticism itself that is an issue for Bond 26. After all, anyone who has seen Daniel Craig’s Bond films will know that the series is far less misogynistic and predictable than it used to be. However, Ritchson’s comments demonstrate that there’s still a perception among the general public of James Bond movies being dated and formulaic, rightly or wrongly.

Though the Bond movies have come a long way, the franchise’s history of misogyny and dated tropes means that its reputation has been somewhat tarnished.

It’s hardly surprising that general audiences hold this opinion. The Bond franchise has been around for over six decades and for much of that time, the series was undeniably misogynistic. The movies of the 60s and 70s were synonymous with traditional British values and the Bond girls of those eras were often reduced to damsels in distress who provided a certain degree of eye candy. Though the Bond movies have come a long way, the franchise’s history of misogyny and dated tropes means that its reputation has been somewhat tarnished. This is an issue that Bond 26 needs to fix.

Is Reacher Really America’s Answer To James Bond?

Jason Bourne And Ethan Hunt Might Have Something To Say About That

Alan Ritchson as Jack Reacher in ReacherWhen asked if he has any desire to play James Bond, Ritchson told Entertainment Weekly that he considers Reacher to be “like the American Bond.” A comparison between the two is understandable. After all, both are heroic figures who ultimately save the day, both are loners with no attachments, and both are highly skilled marksmen and combatants who are not afraid to kill. However, the title of “American James Bond” is probably better suited to characters like Jason Bourne or Ethan Hunt than Jack Reacher.

Furthermore, by making the comparison, Ritchson is almost doing a disserviceLee Child’s original character. Describing Jack Reacher as the American equivalent of James Bond almost dismisses the character’s uniqueness. Unlike Bond, Reacher is a drifter rather than a secret agent and, as such, is not affiliated with any organization. He helps people because he wants to, as opposed to doing it because it’s his job. And, rather importantly, Reacher doesn’t indulge in the same levels of womanizing as Bond does.

Alan Ritchson’s Bond Comments Prove The Daniel Craig Era Didn’t Do Enough For Representation
The Most Recent 007 Era Certainly Updated Bond, But Perhaps Not Enough

Daniel Craig as James Bond casually holding a gun in Casino Royale

Daniel Craig’s tenure as Bond was a vast improvement over the James Bond eras that came before it in terms of representation and moving away from the dated 007 model. Nevertheless, Alan Ritchson’s remarks make it clear that Craig’s era didn’t do enough to completely alter public perception, despite its attempts. It’s possible that one Bond era isn’t enough to change the tide, not when 40 years of misogyny and dated tropes have done damage to the brand. Breaking the negative perception will need to be a priority for Bond 26 and future films in the series.

Interestingly, while Ritchson professes to love Bond, it’s unclear exactly how familiar with the franchise he is. It’s possible he hasn’t seen a 007 movie since the Roger Moore years. What’s also striking is that, while Reacher has never stooped to the same levels of misogyny as Bond, he’s also not much better. The knight-in-shining-armor nature of the character means that Reacher also relies on there being damsels in distress for him to save, which ultimately isn’t very progressive. Whatever the case, Bond 26 has a lot of work to do to change both Ritchson’s and the public’s opinions.


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