Pierce Brosnan became the fifth man to portray James Bond in GoldenEye.
There was several years between Timothy Dalton's second and Brosnan's first. The time delay was probably a good thing as this film now has a tone that feels right for Bond unlike The Living Daylights and especially the previous License to Kill which failed to find a consistent tone leaving Timothy Dalton moving in every direction to meet the demands of the part which he did quite well considering the difficult situation. Pierce Brosnan has much to benefit from the fact that GoldenEye does find a consistent tone for Bond, therefore allowing Brosnan to make an entirely consistent Bond.
Brosnan, like the actor I will be getting to next, actually goes for covering Bond in a way to the manner a previous Bond handled him. Brosnan forgets the darkness Dalton tried to examine for the most part, and goes instead to opt for an approach similar to Sean Connery. What this means is he takes Bond as a much lighter character on the whole although never nearly as light as Roger Moore, but darker when needs to be although never as dark as Dalton was. This means the thing Brosnan aims at first being a charming Bond, but still a Bond with a mission to do unlike Roger Moore who seemed frankly disinterested at times.
Brosnan I should specifically say does not copy Connery in any way in terms of even the manner of charm he uses, or the fashion in which he brings weight to the performance, but I would put these two in the same style of Bond. Brosnan's task is a bit different this being a 90's action movie instead of a 60's action movie. This means there are less diversions really and the action is louder and the danger tends to be more oppressive in a certain way where in the 60's Bond there was usually some breathing room along the way. Here Brosnan is almost always on the move, or if he is not the story is doing very much the same around him.
As the suave charmer Brosnan is properly suave and charming. He knows how to deliver the lines of "Bond, James Bond", "Shaken not Stirred" and the quips he has throughout the film although these are far less frequent here than they were present the past films. Brosnan still has to say them on occasion but there are not the stream of them like there was before, making it so he actually has less of challenge to keep them having an impact throughout since he just does not have that many to say. Brosnan though handles the lighter qualities well, and while doing keeps it within Bond still going about his task, the best example is when he deals with a Russian mobster and Brosnan is playful, humorous yet he still shows that Bond is still keeping his mission in mind.
Brosnan does a good job of handling the action scenes. He makes them believable, and is able to bring the wit needed for Bond well still creating that illusion of threat needed. Brosnan's Bond treads through serious situations but there is only one major personal issue that his Bond faces which is that the main villain is a former fellow agent and friend. There are not too many scenes that linger on Bond's feelings toward this in fact Brosnan pretty much has to express his feelings about it almost entirely in his reactions, but even with these limitations Brosnan does handle them well. He does not have Bond lose his resolve at all but he does handle in a satisfying fashion of Bond more of being surprised and disappointed with his friend more than anything else.
In a way this is the mainstream streamlined Bond by Brosnan is in the vein of Connery. I will say he never quite reaches the heights of Connery's best work as Bond, but his portrayal of Bond is a good one. He leads the film well and although he does not get all that deep with the character he does find his own way to play Bond that harkens back to Connery without ever copying him. Brosnan went on to play Bond three more times and the quality of the films and to a lesser degree Brosnan's performance went down in quality as well, although he never became bad in the role, this film is by far his highlight as Bond. Brosnan is not the best Bond but he is a good Bond that handled the role effectively in a fashion fitting for his set of films.