The romance between James Bond and Madeleine Swann is being picked apart. A lot of people dislike how quickly it moves. Why would she fall in love with him? Why does she try and leave him? Here, I want to talk about why she tries to leave him.
So Madeleine Swann and James Bond get off to an awkward start.
She loathes him
He saves her from Bautista.
She tolerates him, they spend the night in a hotel. He takes her on a trade ride.
She saves him from Bautista.
At this point, we know these two crazy kids have feelings for one another. Then James is captured by Franz YOU HAVE TOO MANY NAMES and is being tortured. Here we get the big reveal: Madeleine loves James Bond. Great, yeah, get in line.
After she helps Bond escape from Franz YOU HAVE TOO MANY NAMES, James and Madeleine end up back in London. There’s a brief scene where James and M talk about stopping Franz. As they’re leaving to execute the plan, Madeleine tells James she’s done, she can’t go back to that life.
Seems out of nowhere, right?
Well, it might make you feel better to know there’s at least an attempt made at character motivation.
Earlier, in the train car, James tries to teach Madeleine all about guns. She tells him she hates guns, then reveals that she’s incredibly proficient with them, and that, when she was a girl, she shot a man. Cool. But she still hates guns. That’s no joke.
In her time with James, she has to shoot Bautista, then watch James get tortured, shoot a bunch of people, and prepare to shoot a bunch of other people.
In the preparation scene with M, back in London, James and M stand over a table. Both of them are loading guns. We have a shot that’s only of the guns. And a shot of Madeleine looking at the men with their guns.
Spectre has been trying to get us to associate GUN with MADELEINE FEELING NEGATIVE THOUGHTS. So watching James and M load guns acts as a trigger for Madeleine. She hates them that much that she decides James Bond, who she declared her love for only hours before, is no longer worth it.
But then she’s kidnapped again and saved by James again. Notice though what James does in the climactic moment. He’s standing over Franz YOU HAVE TOO MANY NAMES, gun pointed at Franz, prepared to kill him. But he decides Madeleine is more important. James tosses the gun. Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. That’s actually supposed to be really psychologically important because, for Madeleine, guns symbolize all the violence and spy shit she dislikes. Now that James has rid himself of the gun: they can love one another.