It took Timothy Dalton two tries to get it right, but that’s okay. I actually don’t feel bad admitting he’s my least favorite Bond. Mostly because I don’t like the way they handled the character during his two films. But this time, unlike with The Living Daylights, they got it right. To the point where it makes me wonder what would have happened if legal problems didn’t derail the franchise for six years after this (though they kind of needed to happen, since the franchise needed that period to catch up to the times).
Anyway — I really like Licence to Kill. The first time I watched these films, I came out of them really liking this, and thinking, “Well, it’s Timothy Dalton, so I bet most people just consider his two films as “whatever.” Just two forgettable entries between the three more prominent Bonds (and everyone just forgets Lazenby entirely). But when I watched it, I went, “Wow, this is actually really good. And then two years passed, and all I really remembered about it was that I enjoyed the film and that it had that awesome Sorcerer ending to it. I thought that maybe I was overrating the rest of the film purely because of the end sequence. But actually — the rest of the film holds up.
I like how grounded the film is. This film might be one of the closest films to the Daniel Craig era than any of the post-1970 films. The gadgets are pretty realistic, the story is definitely realistic, and for the most part, it’s grounded in an emotional story rather than action scenes. And I really liked that about it.
There are a lot of things I like about this movie, but I’ll save them for the article itself. Just know that while a lot of people might think to overlook this film, it’s actually one of the better Bond movies of all time. It’s kind of a shame I couldn’t put this as a top ten, but on the bright side, it’s actually a really solid #12. It’s better than all of the films that came before it on this list, and, while I can’t say it’s better than the next 11, it does have a very comfortable place just outside the top ten, and, to me, that’s all right.