In 2006, Daniel Craig debuted as James Bond in Casino Royale and has been the face of the franchise ever since. Now 15 years and 3 sequels later, Daniel Craig has returned for his last time as the world’s most iconic and beloved British spy in No Time to Die. After several delays due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and a troubled production that saw the previous director Danny Boyle leaving due to creative differences, it was ultimately directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, the first American to direct a 007 film.
No Time to Die stars Daniel Craig as James Bond/007, Raimi Malek as the villain Lyutsifer Safin, and returning from Spectre, Léa Seydoux as Madeleine Swann, As well as several past actors from the previous Craig films. Madeleine Swann is also the first Bond girl to returned for a Bond sequel.
No Time to Die picks up where we left 007 off in the previous film Spectre. After bringing down Blofield (Christoph Waltz), he is now enjoying retirement with his newfound lover, Madeleine, and the two are enjoying a vacation. However, they find themselves attacked by assassins working for the organization Spectre. Because of that, James comes out of retirement for one final mission once he finds that the connections to Madeleine, Spectre, a mysterious assassin named Safin, and a bio-weapon that can wipe most of the earth’s population.
The story of No Time to Die tackles a few different themes and ideas. The first being love and family, as this is shown through Bond’s and Madeleine’s relationship throughout the film. Bond wants to love Madeleine, but at the same not sure if he can trust her. There was one other aspect of the relationship that very much surprised me, but in a good way; while I won’t spoil it, was certainly a bold move on the writers’ end and I think it was handled well.
Another theme this film tackles is the idea of new vs old. Since his retirement, MI6 had given the codename of 007 to someone else name Nomi played by Lashana Lynch. Nomi, being a black woman with the codename 007, shows how diverse the world has become since the Bond franchise began all the way back in the 60s. It’s even brought up a few times in the film on how James himself a relic of an old era could be. On the flip side, when it comes to the villain, Safin, and the entire third act with which has Bond breaking into a hidden lair to stop a doomsday weapon, this element makes this feel like the closest Craig’s films have come to capturing the more over the top style of older eras of James Bond, such as the Connery or Bronson era. So perhaps, in the way the film is saying that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
As for the cast, this film provides Daniel Craig’s best performance as James Bond. He is just as charismatic as ever with that sense of being someone who has been through plenty of traumatic events. But I even think in this film, especially during the ending, Craig has truly given it his all and it was a spectacular final performance for him as Bond. As for the others, I think everyone did great for the most part. One that stands out to me is Ana De Arms; she isn’t a big part of the film, but her brief appearance was very memorable and she even gets some nice action during it.
Another character worth mentioning is Raimi Malek as Safin. When I heard Malek was cast as the villain for the film, I was excited since he is a very talented actor. But sadly while Malek did a good job, I found Malek to be a bit underwhelming. Even though he has a great introduction that creates a lot of intrigue and mystery and has some great scenes later, a big problem I have with this character is how I was never quite sure what his motivation was for everything. It felt like this was due to being changed multiple times throughout the film, which left me confused at times.
At 2 hours and 43 minutes long, No Time to Die sets the record for the longest film in the history of the franchise. But to me, it didn’t feel that long due to it being paced well. I was entertained throughout the entire duration of the movie and didn’t feel bored or felt like it was dragging on once. The film is filled with great action scenes, two that come to my mind is one in the woods and the final one that certainly left me entertained and the cinematography is beautiful. No Time to Die is easily up there with Skyfall for the most beautiful looking Bond film.
While I wouldn’t say this was as good as Casino Royale or Skyfall, it’s certainly better than both Quantum of Solace and Spectre. No Time to Die is still a great time and a great send-off for the James Bond that my generation grew up watching, and whoever is cast to be James Bond next will have some big shoes to fill. Overall, I would definitely recommend you go watch No Time to Die especially, if you are a fan of Daniel Craig’s take on James Bond.