Movies

No Time to Die (2021) Review


A FANTASTIC AND CHARACTER DRIVEN

FAREWELL ADVENTURE TO CRAIG’S 007


 

The man (James Bond), the myth (Bond), and the icon (007). Such are the names that come to mind when speaking about Ian Fleming’s most notorious spy super sleuth: James Bond. Moreover, the Hollywood feature films of Fleming’s character of Bond have become more iconic, spanning over 53 years with several different actors stepping into the role of 007. The most recent incarnation of this comes from British actor Daniel Craig, who has exploded on-screen with a more “gritter” and action-oriented Bond with his films. 2006’s Casino Royale acted as one of the earliest narrative points of the franchise; demonstrating the renegade attitude of Bond when he first gets his “00” status, while 2008’s Quantum of Solace served up as a follow-up adventure, with the secret agent facing the decisions and consequences of his actions in the previous film. This is then followed by 2012’s Skyfall presented a more older / mission-worn Bond investigating an attack on MI6 that leads to a larger plot by former agent Raoul Silva to exact revenge on M for abandoning him, while 2015’s Spectre served as a film to tie the previous three installments of Craig Bond films together by seeing Bond pitted against the global organization of Spectre and their enigmatic leader Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Following the conclusion of Spectre, the movie sort of hints that the end of Craig’s James Bond, with the actor unsure of his return for another installment. Now, more than six years after that film’s release, Daniel Craig’s James Bond is back for one more mission as MGM Studios and director Cary Joji Fukunaga presents the 25th Bond film titled No Time to Die. Does this final cinematic mission for Craig’s Bond gives his interpretation of the famous British spy operative a proper send-off or has the long-delayed project squander its chances in a derivate and bland spy blockbuster endeavor?

THE STORY


Following the events that happened in Spectre, James Bond (Daniel Craig), after saving the day, capturing Blofeld (Christoph Waltz), takes some time to spend with his latest fling; finding comfort in Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux). However, his bliss is shattered by betrayal, which causes the 00 agent to walk away from MI6, electing to retire to Jamaica. Five years later, Bond is contacted his old CIA contact / pal, Felix Leiter (Jeffery Wright), and asked to return to the spy business when a secret laboratory carrying a secretive nanobot weapon is infiltrated by henchmen, with Russian scientist Valdo (David Dencik) stealing the viral menace for the villainous organization, SPECTRE. Agreeing to join in the fray to find Valdo, Bond is quickly introduced to CIA agents Logan Ash (Billy Magnussen) and Paloma (Ana de Armas), and soon confronted with his MI6 replacement, Nomi (Lashana Lynch), the new 007 agent working for M (Ralph Fiennes). Forced to reunite with Swann to connect to Blofeld, Bond finds a new threat in Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek), a calculating manic with ties to his former lover. With a race against the clock, Bond’s latest mission will push the spy to his limits and might just prove to be his greatest challenge yet.

THE GOOD / THE BAD


Like most, I grew up watching the James Bond films. I haven’t seen them all, but there are a couple of them that are memorable (GoldfingerMoonraker, and GoldenEye) just to name a few). When Daniel Craig entered the role, I was, at first, a little bit leery, feeling that the relatively unknown British actor wouldn’t make the “cut” as the illustrious 007. Boy…. was I wrong about that; finding Craig to have the right amount of grit and rougher feeling than Pierce Brosnan (who was considered to be a more “prettier” Bond iteration) along with Craig’s Bond installments getting away from the CGI / unrealistic gadgets and mechanics that were featured in Brosnan movies, for a more grounded appeal. This actually worked, which is why the Craig’s Bond movies have almost revitalized the James Bond franchise (as a whole) for moviegoers everywhere and amassing a sizeable return on investment at the box office worldwide. Personally, I have to say that Craig’s Bond film have some of the best James Bond action in the franchise, but some elements are a bit of a “hit or miss”. How so? Well, both Casino Royale and Skyfall been two of my personal favorite bond film; hitting all the right notes thematically and cinematically together for a well-rounded feature film endeavor. However, Quantum of Solace and Spectre were less-than favorable. Don’t get me wrong…I think that those two Bond movies have some redeeming qualities and are not completely disappointments, but there just something lacking in the film…. whether that’s from story narrative beats, wonky plot mechanics, weak villains, or a humdrum performance from its lead as I still think that Craig was bored with the character while filming Spectre. Still, regardless of those personal ideas, I really do think Daniel Craig was a great James Bond and his films have proven to work for some more grounded and cinematic take on the classic and iconic British spy agent.

This brings me back to talking about No Time to Die, a 2021 action spy film, the 25th James Bond film in the franchise and fifth / last movie of the Daniel Craig’s Bond. As I mentioned, following the release of Spectre, there was a lot of talk about whether or not if Daniel Craig would return to play the character of James Bond one last time, with actor being vague on the notion. However, within time, Craig finally confirmed that he would indeed play the role of Bond one last time, with the final film of his installments being called No Time to Die. Coinciding with that, there were some notions that director Sam Mendes, who directed both Skyfall and Spectre, won’t no be returning to the direct the next Bond film as he was interested in a more personal project (i.e., 2019’s 1917) and soon director Danny Doyle was appointed director for the next Bond film. Unfortunately, Boyle left the project for creative differences, which delayed the movie from its original set date of November 2019 and pushed to April 2020, with director Cary Joji Fukunaga stepping in to direct the new Bond film. After that, casting announcement were made and film began, with a few snippets here and there being showcased on a few online movie / film websites. Then the film’s movie trailers soon appeared, which teased plenty of new footage for the upcoming Bond movie and kept me (as many others) quite intrigued about the latest Craig Bond. So, despite what I thought that Spectre was a, more or less, middling James Bond movie, I was definitely interested in seeing No Time to Die when it was scheduled to be released in April 2020. However, it was around that time when the COVID-19 pandemic started to spread rapidly across the globe, with the movie being shuffled around quite a bit; seeing the dates being set from November 20th, 2020, and to then April 2nd, 2021, with then some talks of No Time to Die being suggested / shopped around to be released on a streaming service (i.e., Netflix or Amazon Prime). However, it was soon decided that the movie would be released exclusively in theaters, with a final scheduled release date being set for October 8th, 2021. So, after all the delays and hyped put onto this movie, I finally was able to see No Time to Die on its opening night (going with my parents who love the James Bond movies). And what did I think of it? Well, I loved it. Despite a few minor nitpicks, No Time to Die is a fantastically solid and entertainingly thrilling James Bond ride that gives Daniel Craig’s iteration of the iconic character a proper and cinematic farewell. It isn’t my personal favorite of the Craig Bond movies, but it’s definitely a damn good endeavor of movie escapism.

As previously mentioned, No Time to Die was originally going to be helmed by Sam Mendes and then by Danny Boyle before it finally landed in the capable hands of one Cary Joji Fukunaga, whose previous directorial works include such films like Jane Eyre and Beast of No Nation. While Fukunaga past work includes several shorts and TV shows (Maniac and True Detective), the director makes No Time to Die his most ambitious project to date. I was kind of a bit leery about Fukunaga’s helming such a big, budgeted movie, especially since he doesn’t have much prior knowledge of working / crafting such a highly anticipated movie like James Bond film. However, to my surprise, Fukunaga actually does a very masterful job in the role of movie director; approaching the material with same sense of finesse and energy as one would expect from a major Hollywood director. However, with not much to compare his back catalogue with one a movie like this (of the same caliber), it is hard to judge, but that’s also a good thing. Fukunaga manages to speak volumes through his direction of which he takes No Time to Die; creating a James Bond film that has a lot more personal stake for Bond himself than previous installment within the Craig era of Bond. With this movie being the final entry with Craig as the title character, Fukunaga makes the movie have a large size in both scope and scale, but is also able to scale the film back a few times for some terrific character-built moments and private dialogue scenes. This allows the movie to have a multi-faceted appearance and works well within Fukunaga’s ultimate direction for the project; allowing the movie the necessary “breathing room” for sequences, but also speaking to the blockbuster visual action that is called upon for a Bond endeavor. There is no doubt that there is a lot to unpack in No Time to Die, with Fukunaga staging various characters, story plot points, and action throughout the film. Most (if not all) are executed well, with a few minor wrinkles here and there. However, I was quite impressed by what I saw and definitely gave the movie that classic “one, two punch” throughout the movie. Of course, the movie’s action is always something that is worth noting for a James Bond and I think that Fukunaga is great in staging those sequences throughout the movie, especially a great opening scene (something that is customary for an opening salvo sequences in a James Bond endeavor) and a climatic third act, which doubles down on some of the gritty / rougher physical approach to Craig’s Bond. Yet, Fukunaga also balances those moments with story / dramatic beats, which punctuates the film in both its own story, but in also in Craig’s iteration of James Bond. In this regard, Fukunaga does a succeed and makes No Time to Die have very entertaining and highly enjoyable James Bond film; one that speaks to true to Craig’s Bond movies as well as a fitting / proper ending Craig’s era as the character.

In addition, the story of No Time to Die has plenty of positives, especially because it puts a lot of emphasis on the character of James Bond. Penned by Fukunaga as well as Robert Wade, Neal Purvis, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, script for the movie has substance and depth…. more so than what Spectre had, which makes for the film’s plot / story have more weight than just the standard “Bond saving the world” narrative path. In truth, with maybe the barring some exceptions in Casino Royale, No Time to Die’s script / story has some of the most compelling storytelling elements for Craig’s Bond, who (in turns) produces such a personal character journey for Bond to navigate through. While the mechanics of it all is a bit rough in a few areas and some of the machinations behind everything isn’t as resonating as some would expect for Craig’s final outing as Bond, the story in the movie is still quite engrossing, which gives the film plenty to play around with; exploring Bond’s tenure away from MI6, his feelings towards Madeleine, his thoughts on being replaced with another 007 agent, and a few other plot points that are quite fleshed out and handled the right way. In addition, the film’s ending seems straight out of a classic James Bond of old, including a bad guy’s lair on island, Bond and company infiltrating said island, and where Bond meets the villain. It’s the classic trope, but it seems like Fukunaga, and the members of the script writing pay homage to what’s come before in the yesteryear’s of Bond, which translates quite well on-screen in No Time to Die. Plus, it’s during these moments (during the climatic third act of the feature) where the character development for Craig’s Bond reaches its fruition, with both script and actor harmonizing together beautifully (more on that below). In the end, while there are a few things I wouldn’t done and / or expected to be done differently (or better handled), I think that the script for No Time to Die has a lot to offer and the final product speaks for itself in the movie’s presentation; translating into a timely and great farewell adventure for Craig’s Bond to play around in.

On its presentation, No Time to Die is quite the solid action blockbuster endeavor that both speaks to the era of Craig’s Bond past installments as well as the grandiose final adventure for the movie itself. This (of course) is probably why the movie has a production budget of $250 million, with the film itself looks like every penny was spent into making the film look so intricately detailed and gorgeous to behold. No Time to Die is very much so a James Bond film, with plenty of picturesque international locations, settings, and vistas for the various characters to play within. Thus, the film’s “sandbox” world of espionage has a larger-than-life feeling, which creates a very flavorful blockbuster visual appeal that give the film’s story something to marvel and get lost in. This makes the movie’s “behind the scenes” team, including Mark Tildesley (production design), Veronique Melery (set decorations), and Suttirat Anne Larlarb (costume designs) as well as the entire art direction team fantastic to behold and they should be provide of making No Time to Die have that visually stunning appearance from beginning to end. Plus, I felt like that the film editing by Tom Cross and Elliot Graham was very impressive, especially in many of the film’s actions sequences. In addition, the film’s cinematography by Linus Sandgren is also great; capturing the vastness and majesty of a James Bond film, while also providing some slick close-ups and “movie magic” trickery. While I won’t say that No Time to Die has better cinematography than Roger Deakin’s work on Skyfall or Hoyte van Hoytema’s work on Spectre, but Sandgren’s work on this movie is no short than brilliant, especially coming from a director of photography who has done some beautiful work on films like La La Land, First Man, and American Hustle. Lastly, the film’s score, which was composed by Hans Zimmer, is terrific. The score for a James Bond film has always been a central point; playing up the various moods and scenes that beautifully mirrors what Bond is going through (be it soft character dialogue or bombastic action) and Zimmer’s score definitely complements those sequences masterfully; creating such a compelling musical composition for the film that standout.

While I greatly enjoyed the movie and found this final entry in Craig’s James Bond saga, No Time to Die does it a few sour notes (or rather blemishes) that make the feature noticeable within its criticisms and / or examination of the overall film. These problems don’t completely derail the movie, but rather just hold the film back from being my personal favorite Craig Bond installment. How so? Well, for starters, the movie is quite long, with the feature clocking in at a whopping 163 minutes, which translates into a two hour and forty-three minutes theatrical runtime. This makes No Time to Die the longest James Bond film of the Daniel Craig features, with the Spectre previously holding that reign at two hours and twenty-eight minutes in length (an extra 15-minute difference between the two films). While No Time to Die’s story is engaging and engrossing, the movie does feel like quite a lengthy endeavor. I’m sure that Fukunaga wanted to give the last Daniel Craig Bond movie a great send-off with a more personal character journey for the iconic MI6 spy, which he does, but feels story feels quite overextended and bloated as some concept and many ideas could’ve been trimmed down and / or removed from the feature’s final cut and still able to achieve the same entertaining caliber.

Another minor point of criticism is in the actual story that unfolds within No Time to Die…. or rather the machinations behind everything. What do I mean? Well, Spectre (originally) was going to be the last Daniel Craig’s Bond, with actor being “wishy-washy” about returning to the role in the future. Thus, the story of Spectre had a more finality in its story by trying to connect the dots within previous movies togethers (i.e., Le Chiffre, Vesper, Mr. White, Dominic Green, Quantum, Silva, etc.), with Spectre organization (and Blofeld) behind it all. It gives a sense of grandiosity as if the journey that began in 2006’s Casino Royale as been building up to this point. However, No Time to Die lacks the sense of grandiose finality feeling slightly. Yes, the character build and personal journey that Bond goes through in the movie is handled much better in this movie than in Spectre, but the narrative lacks “all roads have led to this” aspect and mantra for a conclusion. Safin plot doesn’t have that full “chain reaction” implications that ripples backwards through Craig’s Bond past adventures, which makes him a weaker Bond villain (more on that below) nor does the story of No Time to Die have that “connecting the dots” feeling. Basically, Spectre as a better “bringing everything to a head” storytelling narrative, while No Time to Die has a better “character journey” growth. Both have something that the other does not. It’s hard to say fully, but you get what I’m saying. I just wish that this movie had a better grandiose connecting piece that tied all events together like what they did in Spectre. Because…. if they did…this movie would’ve been a masterpiece.

Another minor complaint is where the movie actually ends. The final minute before the credits roll. I definitely get where Fukunaga is going for with this particular scene, but I just wanted to see something a bit more better handled than what was presented. It doesn’t derail the movie whatsoever, but I think that the closing 30 seconds of No Time to Die could’ve been done differently; offering a more grand farewell to Craig’s Bond.

As another complaint I had with No Time to Die is the film’s opening song…. “No Time to Die”, which was written and sung by rising musician Billie Ellish. Granted, I do have a good understand that most of the Bond songs are a little bit “Bond-vibe” in ways and means of projecting the same surreal-like imagery that is being displayed during the movie’s iconic opening title crawl. It’s one of the “bread and butter” motifs and staples of a James Bond movie and is something that always is a great highlight to watch and view…. before jumping into the main narrative bulk of the movie’s story. So, of course, I was looking forward to seeing these sequence in this movie. As for Ellish, I’ll be the first to say that I’m not a fan of Ellish. Let me rephrase that…. I don’t dislike her music or think it’s trash / garbage, I just don’t particularly care for her songs. That being said, I know that Ellish’s “No Time to Die”, due to the movie’s shuffling around of delays, was released a while back, so it generated a lot of “buzz” for the upcoming film. I stayed away from listening to the song because I had very little interest in hearing it, especially because I didn’t hear it was anything special. So, when I did actually hear it in the movie…I was “meh”. It just didn’t have that pizzazz and / or catchiness of a James Bond theme song. Yes, it has the melodies overtones of a Bond song, but Ellish sounds bland; making the song feel lifeless and unmemorable. I don’t think it has terrible as Jack White & Alicia Keys “Another Way to Die” from Quantum of Solace, but it’s still nowhere as near as good as Sam Smith’s “Writings on the Wall” from Spectre, Chris Cornell’s “You Know My Name” from Casino Royale, or even Adele’s “Skyfall” from Skyfall (my personal favorite from Craig’s Bond movies). Thus, I felt that Ellish’s “No Time to Die” is a weak Bond song.

The cast in No Time to Die is a solid one with most of the selected acting performing at top level and definitely having fun in their respective roles. Some characters are bit one-noted and / or not fully developed, but their involvement on this James Bond movie is still worth it to see them in the roles and in their performances are terrific. Of course, the main star attraction of this movie is actor Daniel Craig, who plays the titular protagonist character of James Bond himself. Craig, who is known for his roles in The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, Knives Out, and Layer Cake, has become very well-known over the past fifteen years (roughly), especially with the thanks on his part of playing the role of James Bond; providing a more “diamond in the rough” and gritty interpretation of Ian Fleming’s famous spy. As mentioned before, the debate on whether or not Craig was going to return to play Bond one last time after Spectre was one of a “hot topic”, especially since the actor has certainly made the character more relevant within the mainstream popularity (a combination of Craig and the narrative direction for Bond becoming more gritty and realistic). Thankfully, Craig decided to return to the role and his participation in No Time to Die is one of the best attributes that the movie gets right from the get-go. Unlike in Spectre, which saw a weaker personal journey for the character of Bond and a weaker performance from Craig, No Time to Die seems to reverse that notion, with the both the character and actor giving their all for this final showcases of Craig’s portrayal of James Bond; making the character more well-rounded and dynamic from onset to conclusion. The personal character journey that Bond goes through in this movie is one that has deep substance and richness, which makes for a better character arc and a storytelling angle than both Quantum of Solace and Spectre was able to achieve. While there are some rough edges to his character development in the film, I think that it’s an improvement from the previous film and gives more of a proper and satisfying conclusion to the character. With that in mind, Craig is handed a more meatier character to play around with Bond in No Time to Die; finding the actor capable of handling himself and enjoying his last bout as the titular spy. He seems more energetic, more cheeky, more playful, more focused, and just more invested in playing the character, which is clearly seeing whenever he’s on-screen throughout the feature. Thus, in the end, Craig’s final portrayal of James Bond is one that reaches new heights and gives his character of Bond an emotional and action-packed send-off. It’s quite sad to see Craig no longer as Bond, but thank him for playing the character.

Behind Bond, actress Lea Seydoux returns to reprise her Spectre character role of Madeleine Swann. Seydoux, who is known for her roles in Midnight in Paris, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, was good in her role of Spectre, but wasn’t a completely strong “Bond Girl” archetype. Still, she did manage to bring some nuances to the proceedings. In No Time to Die, Seydoux improves upon the character of Madeleine, which is a combination of the film’s script giving her character more substance and in Seydoux’s getting more screen time to fully explore Madeleine as fully fleshed out supporting character. There are a few clunky mechanics that the movie does with her character, but, as a whole, I think that the character of Madeleine Swann is better handled in this movie along with Lea Seydoux’s representation; providing that her (Madeleine) ties with Bond is more deeper than we thought. Plus, I think that both Seydoux and Craig are a good fit and having good chemistry with each other. It isn’t as electrifying as him and Eva Green’s Vesper, but it definitely holds it own and feels genuine, which allows us (the viewers) to buy into the relationship with each other.

Also connected to Bond, is the character of Nomi, MI6’s newest operative agent and the current position of the 007 title. Played by Lashana Lynch, who is known for her roles in Captain Marvel, Brotherhood, and Still Star-Crossed, the character certainly makes her mark on both the movie itself and in the James Bond franchise as the first ever female 00 agent…. especially one that holds the title of 007. Some have criticized this movie for being “too woke” by incorporating an African American female character to play the iconic 007 (a role that always been played a white British male), but it didn’t bother me as much as still Craig’s Bond is still in the movie and still plays Bond. Like the movie states “it’s just a number”. There is a good “back and forth” banter that both Lynch and Craig share that makes for some humorous quips, with. Overall, I think that Lynch’s Nomi handled herself well in the movie. It’s still unclear on whether or not Lynch’s Nomi will return to the Bond franchise (either being the starring role of the first ever female Bond or in some form of capacity as a 00 MI6 operative agent) as the future of James Bond remains elusive (in its storytelling path). Regardless, I enjoyed her involvement in No Time to Die and felt that both Lynch and Nomi were a strong characters.

The last female important female main character in No Time to Die would be the character of Paloma, a CIA field operative agent who assist Bond on a certain mission. Played by actress Ana de Armas, who is known for her roles in Knives Out, War Dogs, and Blade Runner 2049, the character of Paloma is sort of a “breath of fresh air” in the movie; adding a new and energetic female character into the mix that makes the scenes she’s in fun and colorful. Armas seems to be having a lot of fun in the role as seeing in her performance. Plus, the screen presence between Armas and Craig is spot on, with the pair showcasing their playful banter towards each other and bringing out Craig’s Bond cheeky and easygoing persona with his iteration of Bond. However, she’s only briefly in the movie, which feels like a missed opportunity to bring in such a new character, especially one that works well within the scenes that she is given. Some people didn’t like her character in the movie, but I loved it. It’s sad that just wasn’t more involved in No Time to Die’s story. Again, just felt like a missed opportunity.

The only character who fares the least in the movie is Lyutsifer Safin, No Time to Die’s main antagonist of the story and who is played by actor Rami Malek. Known for his roles in The Pacific, Mr. Robot, and Bohemian Rhapsody, Malek has certainly made a name for himself in Hollywood, especially after his terrific performance as Freddie Mercury. Thus, this is probably why Malek auditioned and offered such a role of a Bond villain, with Safin being “right-in-line” with the rest of the bad guys in the franchise. However, Safin is a somewhat of a mixed bag. The movie builds him up to be really “big bad” for the feature, but he ultimately feels lacking the necessary / sizable threat that has come before in the past James Bond villains in the Daniel Craig movies. A great majority of Safin scenes comes towards the latter half of the film and just comes off as a bit “too little, too late”. Malek is up to the task and, for the most part, works well as Safin as he looks the part (i.e., disfigured face, hauntingly / creepy foreign accent, soft spoken voice) and feels like a classic Bond villain, with sights set on releasing chaos upon the world with a pandemic-like disease. However, there is no special “it” factor that neither Malek nor the script handling makes Safin that memorable and ultimately makes for such a weak Bond villain. Malek certainly knows to make the character his own and I do praise him for that, but compared to several other Bond villains in the Craig’s films such as Mads Mikkelsen’s Le Chiffre in Casino Royale or Javier Bardem’s Raoul Silva in Skyfall, his character of Safin is less impressive and forgettable. Faring better than Malek’s Safin (in the villain category) is the return of Spectre’s main villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld, with actor Christoph Waltz reprising his roles in the titular Bond villain. While Waltz, who is known for his roles in Inglorious Basterds, Django Unchained, and Alita: Battle Angel, has only limited screen time in No Time to Die, his overall impact in the film is terrific, with Waltz carrying that memorable menacing arrogance / witty playfulness that is found within a classic Bond villain. The exchange of dialogue between him and Craig are amazing to see.

The rest of the staple James Bond characters from the Daniel Craig era, including actor Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and The Constant Gardner) as head of MI6 / Bond’s superior Gareth Mallory or better known as “M” (I didn’t know that his first name was Gareth. Just found out that while doing this review), actress Naomie Harris (Venom: Let There Be Carnage and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End) as M’s secretary Eve Moneypenny, Rory Kinnear (Penny Dreadful and The Imitation Game) as M’s chief of staff Bill Tanner, actor Ben Whishaw (Mary Poppins Returns and Paddington) as MI6’s quartermaster and tech savant / gadget maker “Q”, and actor Jefferey Wright (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Westworld) all make their return in No Time to Die; reprising their respective roles beautifully in their supporting roles. These acting talents certainly know their characters inside out and, while some have larger scenes in the film than others, their ability to play these characters certainly brings a good helping of continuity to the Craig’s Bond movies together. Love it!

The rest of the cast, including Billy Magnussen (Into the Woods and Game Night) as CIA operative Logan Ash, actor Dali Benssalah (My Brother and I and Nox) as hired mercenary / adversary to Bond named Primo, and actor David Dencik (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Chernobyl) as scientist Valdo Obruchev round out the remaining minor supporting players in the movie. Most of these characters are formulaic characters in the James Bond storyline (befitting the spy genre), so I won’t discredit them if they feel slightly generic as most fit their respective roles quite well. Although, I do have to say that Dencik’s Obruchev is a tad bit too goofy / hammy for such a gravitas spy endeavor such as No Time to Die.

FINAL THOUGHTS


Dark secrets, past memories, and a deadly virus are instrumental in the final outing for Daniel Craig’s interpretation of Ian Fleming’s iconic James Bond character in the movie No Time to Die. Director Cary Joji Fukunaga’s latest film sees Craig’s Bond facing new obstacles in both personal matters and in world-threating level of events, which takes a celebrated and cinematic journey to what the actor has done with his performance of Bond in the past several outings of James Bond. It brings closure to Craig’s iteration in a very dramatic and exciting way; providing satisfaction after hitting some sour notes with Spectre. While the movie does slightly stumble in a few areas, the movie finds a great and entertaining rhythm within its mechanics, thanks to Fukunaga’s direction, a solid presentation, terrific action scenes, a very character-drive story, a great cast, and commanding character / screen presence from Craig in his final role as Bond. Personally, I loved this movie. While I won’t say that this particular movie outweighs my love for Craig’s other two Bond films (Casino Royale and Skyfall), but its still better than Quantum of Solace and Spectre. So, I guess (out of the five Craig Bond movies), No Time to Die sits comfortably solid in the middle…..and that’s nothing to get upset about as the film itself is an action-packed and terrific send-off to Craig as everyone’s favorite MI6 spy. Thus, my recommendation for this movie a solidly fun “highly recommended” as I’m sure both casual moviegoers and longtime James Bond fans will highly enjoy this movie from start to finish. It’s definitely worth the one-year delay and won’t disappoint. Given the fact that this movie is final chapter of Daniel Craig’s James Bond, it’s still unclear as to what is going to come on the horizon for the classic Ian Fleming character. It’s been confirmed that the studio will start looking for the “Next Bond” soon, with a short list of potential candidates to step into the role, but it still remains unclear if the studio will continue the narrative set by Craig’s Bond (including the actors that play several supporting roles) or will the next film reboot the James Bond narrative entirely by just keeping the mythos James Bond alive and not connected to Daniel Craig’s Bond. It will be interesting to see what lies for the future of James Bond. In the end, No Time to Die is a fitting and fantastic way to bid farewell to Daniel Craig performance of the character of Bond. It’s been an incredible journey that’s filled with high and lows, but Craig’s last outing as the popular MI6 British spy is solid swansong; bringing a grandiose action and emotionally driven finality to his James Bond.

4.5 Out of 5 (Highly Recommended)

 

Released On: October 8th, 2021
Reviewed On: October 13th, 2021

No Time to Die  is 163 minutes long and is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images, brief strong language, and some suggestive material



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