James Bond returned to the silver screen in Daniels Craig’s final outing as the titular spy in No Time To Die. It’s time to say whether the film was a success or whether we needed to let it rest in peace.
WARNING: HEAVY SPOILERS THROUGHOUT, SO WATCH THE MOVIE BEFORE READING THE REVIEW.
James Bond and Dr Madeleine swan are ready to settle down and live together. Until Spectre tries to kill Bond, leading to the pair’s separation. Five years later, James Bond is in retirement until Felix asks him to do one job. Nanobots known as Heracles have been stolen from a lab. Bond has to get them back before they kill millions of people as they are linked to people’s DNA and kill within seconds of physical contact. In the meantime, Madeline Swan is being blackmailed by the man that saved her when she was little. Will this be a happy reunion for the pair?
The good-Bond theme
When Billie Eilish’s ‘No Time to Die’ theme came out, I loved it! Paired with the animation, it is a gorgeous theme.
The good- Character and action
As always with a James Bond film, the cinematography and fighting scenes are always spectacular. As for writing up the review. The action scenes I remember vividly are the action scene before the film’s theme begins. And when James and CIA Agent Paloma is in Jamacia.
The shots are fluid, impactful and never wasted.
I also want to praise the character work throughout the movie. I never watched Casino Royale, and I had no idea who Felix Leiter was. However, the film conveyed James’ and his relationship well. The mutual respect and trust and love they have for one another. So when Felix was killed, it had a lot of good weight to it. This is cemented when James Bond says to another CIA Agent that ‘the only brother I had was Felix.’
Another great character I grew to love with their fifteen minutes of screentime was Paloma, played by Ana de Armas. Her character isn’t a smooth-talking agent. She’s nervous, fidgety and only becomes as confident as Bond when at the party and shooting people. She’s comfortable around the weapons and can be seductive and can play it smooth, but before that, there’s a vulnerability I liked seeing. Also, appreciate that she didn’t sleep with James. It’s a nice subversion that helped with the flow of the film.
Another plus was Safin’s lair. It was dangerous, ambitious, extravagant, and over the top as any Bond villain, lair/plan should be.
The good- MI6 and the new 007
Another thing I enjoyed seeing was the camaraderie between Miss Moneypenny, Q and James Bond. It was great seeing them work together, and you truly felt the alliance between the three as they tried to figure out what was going on with ‘Project Heracles’.
I also liked seeing Nomi (the new 007) and James have their mini arch where they grow to respect each other and treat each other as equals. It made you genuinely believe in the dynamic that is presented. Lashana lynch had the perfect level of confidence, detachment and pride for the role.
Now, let’s move on to the bad, and no movie is perfect. While Safin (played by Rami Maleck) is a villain, his motivation to create a new world order whilst deadly feels extremely thin and needs more padding for the audience to truly enjoy seeing the villain on screen. And whilst you can appreciate the threat, it does make the film fall through and break down. Not enough that you can’t enjoy it, but it nags at you!
I also think that getting into a high-security lab that quickly and efficiently is too cliche and overdone. The film should’ve made it harder to get the deadly weapon. I couldn’t suspend my disbelief for it like usual.
I also think that the script or editing needed to show Serif having Madeline and her daughters DNA at the end. So the audience could grasp the big plot twist more easily. As many people are confused by it ( I mean, I got it quickly, but other audiences have got confused as to how and that needed addressing.)
I haven’t watched Spectre. I was fully prepared not to get invested in the relationship between Bond and Madeline. However, the acting was exceptional, and the chemistry was off the chart between Craig and Seydoux.
I quickly bought it. And can see the attraction for the characters with the framing, their upbringing, how they are both capable of defending themselves, how they struggle to trust. It’s there in the language of film. It gives Daniel Craigs Bond a brilliant arch of learning to trust people, be open and ready to have a family.
Usually, when the leading actor leaves the role of James Bond, the character will get married and drive away into the sunset. However, this wasn’t the case for Daniel Craig’s Bond, as he gets poisoned and then stays on an equally horrible island that is about to get hit with missiles—resulting in a very emotional and hard-hitting death scene.
Now I was fully expecting the writers to go ahead and do something silly to make Bond survive and undo the emotional weight that has built up throughout the entire movie. Luckily they didn’t. I like the bond ‘died’. The 007 agent going off with his girlfriend and daughter to live happily ever after was never on the cards. He is a character that, by design, can never get a fairytale ending. The only way to get this character, who has finally found a family, to call his own out of the picture was via death.
Lea Seydoux and Craig sell the performance. The dialogue brings it around full circle and fully punches you in the gut with emotion and terror at what is about to happen as you bargain with phoebe waller bridge to make the man survive. And I don’t think the movie would’ve worked without a perfect ending to a breathtaking film!
I’m rating No Time To Die four stars out of five. Some of the villains motivations are thin. Yet, the emotional connections of the film and the themes it presents along with that. This gives Bond a new arch make this a moving watch and a perfect exit for Daniel Craig’s iteration of James Bond.
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