Sunday, May 25, 2008

The American James Bond

I've been watching a lot of Heroes lately. I've come to several conclusions about the show. One, Hayden Pannettiere can still manage to look hot, even with a few ribs sticking out. Two, the writers are smart, seeing as they haven't fallen into a similar beating of basic Mendelian genetics like Metal Gear Solid has. And three, there is only one member of the cast who isn't a phenomenal idiot.

That character is Noah Bennett, who is certainly the most complex character in the series. Mr. Bennett is, as the title would suggest, James Bond wrapped up in the pathos of 1950s America. He is a company man, in more than one way. Dedicated to his job, and ruthless in his prosecution of it. However, above all things, he is a family man. As dangerous as he is on the job, he's exponentially more so when called to defend his family. When the two interests collide, things get very interesting.

His appearance was drawn up very well. The Browline glasses he wears immediately call to mind a 1950s Cold Warrior who routinely deals with issues larger than himself, larger than his nation.

While he's eerily similar to his British counterpart in his ruthless efficiency, He differs in key aesthetic categories. His mannerisms are wholesome, but when called to, he works and talks with barely contained violence, far removed from the smooth witticisms and calm under fire of 007. While James Bond sleeps with almost anything with a pair of breasts, Mr. Bennett conforms faithfully to the American ideal of a monogamous relationship with his loving wife. Mr. Bennett is a magnificent bastard who's always at least three steps ahead of anyone else, which allows him to be arguably the most dangerous man in a world filled with people with inhuman powers.

In a way, Mr. Bennett is symbolic of America, very similar to Alden Pyle in Graham Greene's 1955 novel, The Quiet American. Idealistic in a way, ruthless, fiercely protective of his own, and willing to destroy anyone who threatens them. Unlike Pyle, Mr. Bennett is a more balanced representation, rather than blindly bringing down everyone around him, Mr. Bennett, who is arguably just as destructive, is much more controlled in what he does.

This guy alone, makes Heroes worth watching, even the strike induced miscarriage that was the second season.

1 comment:

Candace said...

You got me.

I had resisted Heroes for so long.

Not anymore. Time to splurge. Season One, here I come. :)