|In the guts of it, though, is Bond as a scarred man with clear psychological damage, often on the edge of being removed from service by M on mental health grounds. It’s made stridently obvious that being on the 00 detail of the Secret Service is a job that fucks you up.
Bond is not a superman. He prevails because he is quite simply nastier and more determined to wreak utter bloody havoc than the next guy. In some ways — and I don’t think Fleming was unaware of this — he is what Allen Ginsberg called “bleak male energy,” causing and taking immense damage in single-minded pursuit of what he wants. At the conclusion of YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, the front end of his personality essentially rubbed out by torture, drugs, multiple trauma and a sequence of horrible mental hammerblows, there is an almost disturbing glimpse of an amnesiac Bond as gentle, open, devoted, and almost sweet. And his lover dreads the day that he recovers.
He is England’s blunt instrument of international assault — the spiteful, vicious bastard of a faded empire that still wants the world to do as it’s bloody well told.