James Bond, 007, has gone through many iterations throughout the years. Legendary actors like Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Pierce Brosnan have taken the mantle over the years. However, none have done more justice to the role than Daniel Craig. Thus, I was more excited for Craig’s last film as James Bond, “No Time to Die,” than any other film in October, let alone the whole year. After numerous delays, the movie has finally come to theaters, topping the box office this past weekend with $56 million. I am happy to say I had the opportunity to watch “No Time to Die” this past Sunday, and it was well worth the wait. In fact, I’ve been thinking about the movie ever since watching it. In this review I will be diving into the movie, talking about what makes it such a great ending to the Daniel Craig story.
Those watching this as their first Bond movie will be able to comprehend the plot, however, it is much better to come in with some knowledge. The four movies prior are “Casino Royale,” “Quantum of Solace,” “Skyfall,” and “Spectre.” In their own right, these are all great movies worth watching at least once. However, if there is no time to watch, one is able to check out a recap on YouTube.
“No Time to Die” opens shortly after “Spectre,” with James Bond and Madeleine Swann heading to a town in Italy. After a series of events, Bond finds himself living in retirement before being pulled back into the fray for another mission. That is the most basic plot summary I can give without delving too deep into spoilers. There will be a spoilers section later within the review where I will begin talking in-depth about certain events.
As always with Daniel Craig, the acting is outstanding. Perhaps more than any other Bond actor, Craig brings humanity and realism to the role. Along with Craig, supporting actors all get their moments to shine. The new characters are welcome additions while the old characters all have a place within the new story. Finally, the villain is perhaps the most divisive for me to determine in the movie. Rami Malek acts extremely well as always, but the villain tends to fall flat for me personally. Malek’s character acts well as a foil but ultimately does not become a character I care about strongly. However, this is fine as ultimately the story’s greatest boon is how well it wraps up Bond’s story arc. Thus, the focus is on him throughout most of the film.
In addition, the introduction sequence is legendary as always. Billie Eilish’s “No Time to Die” compliments the visuals very well in the opening credits. Furthermore, the song stands on its own, as I’ve been listening to it on repeat for the past few days. As for the overall makeup of the film, the cinematography is beautiful, producing some of the coolest scenes in recent memory. The action is also top-notch as comes with the Bond series. The score is great, making for a well-rounded package in movie form. Overall a great movie and a valuable entry into the 007 franchise. Certainly, a must-see to all moviegoers.
THIS BEGINS THE START OF THE SPOILER TALK. TURN AWAY IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN
There is so much to unpack within the actual content. I have many notes, and I am happy I get to share them. After watching the movie, I realized the reason behind the delays was partly due to the disease plot, which further continued with my statement that this current age of Bond is more realistic than past versions. It ultimately leaves watchers feeling more invested in the world as there can be relations to our own. In a non-COVID world, I am curious whether this would have the same effect. Ultimately, I enjoyed the threat and it led to several “wide-mouth” moments.
I enjoy how they do not give Bond multiple love interests. There is one throughout the entire movie and it ultimately stays constant. This gives Bond a much more human look. It also enables more characters to flesh out. Particularly, the two standouts that defy the typical stereotypes are Ana de Armas’ character Paloma and Lashanna Lynch’s character Nomi. Paloma is just a fun character who not only has fun fight scenes but also a lot of good development in such a short time. Ana de Armas ultimately plays the character very well, despite her underutilized screen time. Meanwhile, Lynch’s character, Nomi, is rather cutthroat as the new 007, which produces an interesting dynamic with James Bond. This dynamic makes it even greater when the final fight comes around. Also, a quick mention to Christoph Waltz as Blofeld just because I am a big fan of his acting and thus he deserves all the praise.
The two worst possible aspects of this movie I can talk about are 1) really how underutilized Ana de Armas is and 2) the pacing of the ending. It felt as though they were rushing to the conclusion. That being said, the conclusion was amazing. The road before that is a bit rocky, however, the film covers it up with tons of fanservice.
For instance, the one gunshot in the corridor calls back to the classic tunnel scene from the beginning of every Bond movie. Another favorite of mine is the pun Bond uses following the use of Q’s watch, which served as a good penultimate fight for the superspy.
Coming into this movie, fans were expecting Bond to either retire or die. Unfortunately, the latter happened. Fortunately, it was such a beautiful conclusion to the character. The scenery was beautiful, as missiles fired onto the hero against a gorgeous sunset. Leading up to this moment, viewers watched Bond grow through the stages of grief before accepting that his life needs to end. In doing this, the human of the character is put into the limelight as watchers take one last look at the hero as he communicates with his one love. The final moment of James Bond was a tearjerker for sure.
After the death of Bond, the movie merely ends with perhaps the best way it could: with one final “Bond, James Bond ”. No Time to Die is a truly magnificent end to Daniel Craig’s saga.