After the turn of the century the spy movies started getting a lot edgier and yet also seemed like they might have decided to get just a little easier to relate to as well. By the 2000s the feel of the 90s had calmed down a bit and started incorporating more feeling back into the spy game, reminding people that they were human and did have some sense of normalcy to their lives every now and then despite their very dangerous profession. You could argue that this has been prevalent throughout the history of spy movies but honestly when James Bond came on the scene things kind of angled towards the hit and run romances and the belief that spies were more or less bound to have little to do with what people might call a normal life. They were all about danger, mystery, and espionage. In this era they started to become a little more sensitive to the fact that they are human and need to act like it occasionally in order to be better at their job.
Here are some of the best spy movies of the 2000s.
5. Mission:Impossible 2
The whole idea of going up against an enemy that knows you and your every move isn’t a new one but with the increase in effects and the choreography used in fight scenes this movie became something that existed on an entirely new level. Ethan Hunt is a guy that tends to stick to himself and only take on the missions he wants, which means he takes on just about anything to keep himself busy. But when he finds someone that he cares about and wants to see survive the stakes become that much higher and his ability to outwit and outlast anyone that stands in his way becomes even sharper.
4. Casino Royale
Once again, you can’t really talk about spy movies without bringing up James Bond. The character is simply too awesome and too legendary to really lose track of. But in the 2000s there was a shift in Bond’s narrative going on, and Daniel Craig took over for Pierce Brosnan in bringing the super spy to the big screen. In this film MI6 is almost directly sponsoring world terrorism as they gamble with the chance that Bond will win at the high stakes poker game that he’s been ordered to play. From that point on it becomes a race to see if Bond can once again beat the bad guy and get the girl. But again, things have changed a bit.
3. The Recruit
There is a reason why CIA operatives are called spooks. They’re trained to be seriously spooky and able to basically disappear and be a part of the populace at large while still maintaining whatever loyalty they might have to the agency. Who’s fooling who in this movie is something that you have to pay attention to really understand. When there’s supposedly a mole in the CIA it’s all a matter of who is really the traitor and who is being played when it comes to being the person that is willing to betray their country. The game, the test, is to wonder just where the line that’s being crossed has been drawn.
2. Mr. & Mrs. Smith
It seems hard to imagine how anyone could be married to a person and not know everything about them. But then, if you work outside the home and don’t see each other all day there is a possibility that you might not know everything. Finding out something like this however would be kind of a gut-check that you wouldn’t see coming and would no doubt be torn apart over. When Mr. and Mrs. Smith find out just who they are however things get tense really quickly and the kind of fight they bring to one another is simply impressive since they not only keep it all within the house but they end up falling in love with each other after a while.
1. The Bourne Identity
As great as James Bond is, and he is, Jason Bourne owned this decade. He was the kind of spy that could disappear, could strike without warning, and had the kind of knowledge that was hard to access at first but was still present enough that he could prove to be dangerous to anyone that bothered to challenge him. Pitting him against James Bond seems like it would have been a very good fight, though in the end it almost seems like Bond would have to resort to his gadgets to really gain an edge, and Bourne would take that away by using whatever was at hand just to remind the super spy that simplicity is at times the best weapon.
Oh yeah, I said it. Here’s the new pecking order of spies, Hunt, Bourne a close second, and then Bond.