To expand upon my quick thoughts in the video, No Time to Die is a British spy film and the twenty-fifth film in the James Bond series produced by Eon Productions excluding Casino Royale (1967) and Never Say Never Again, which were produced by other companies. It is directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga from a screenplay by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Fukunaga, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. The film stars Daniel Craig in his fifth and final outing as MI6 agent James Bond along with returning actors Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Christoph Waltz, Rory Kinnear, and Ralph Fiennes. Newcomers include Rami Malek, Lashana Lynch, Billy Magnussen, Ana de Armas, David Dencik, and Dali Benssalah. Five years after the events of Spectre, Bond has left active service with MI6 and is living in Jamaica. Soon he is recruited by his old friend Felix Leiter to help find a kidnapped scientist before he falls into the clutches of Lyutsifer Safin, a terrorist leader with ties to Madeleine Swann and Spectre.
The best thing about the Daniel Craig era of James Bond films is that they all connect in some way. Gone are the days of the stand-alone James Bond adventures from one film to the next. That is what makes the Craig films an experience, because it is one long story about how James Bond gains his “00” status, is shaped by his first mission as 007, and progresses to his final mission as 007. Through each film, Craig is brilliant as James Bond. He portrays Bond as a brute as well as a playboy. He is grittier than previous incarnations and due to the nature of the ongoing story, he is the first Bond to show growth throughout his series. In this final film, we are shown things that have never happened to any onscreen before. Before Craig, Bond was thought to be an ageless character with each new actor portraying the same version of the spy.
The supporting cast is great as well, sporting some of the most diverse actors to appear in a Bond film. If the Bond franchise was known for doing spinoffs, Naomi and Paloma would be ripe for solo films or limited series. The only other time this was spoken of was with Giacinta “Jinx” Johnson (Halle Berry) from Die Another Day. Lashana Lynch’s Naomi is seductive as the new 007. She is a bit more “King and Country” than her predecessor. She knows how to get the job done and can be brutal not unlike Bond yet prefers to follow the chain of command before making a move. Ana de Armas is just delightful as Paloma. She is bubbly and goofy but not to the point of parody. It is very realistic for an agent on their first mission to be drinking and taking shots to prepare themselves for the real deal. Once you see her in action she is more than capable of taking down bad guys as much as Bond or Naomi. It’s only sad that her character does not appear in more of the film especially with her connection to Leiter.
The relationship between Bond and Swann is more believable this time around now that we have had a few years to sit with the characters. There is something more that connects them now beyond her father and Blofeld and it makes for a great reveal. This transcends what Bond has been in the past and may affect how the character is presented moving forward. Swann is also our connection to Lyutsifer Safin, portrayed by Rami Malek. Malek is servicing in the villain role, being nothing more than an extended plot device. Safin’s age is also a bit of a mystery as it seems he’s the same age at the beginning of the film as he is 20 years later. I know certain people age well but this one feels a bit off. They are able to hide this with the fact that he wears a mask in the opening scene but the audience can clearly tell. While Safin is not a physical or mental presence for Bond, he is an emotional presence and I think that aspect is really what the director is trying to present in this film.
The action in the film is beautifully shot and done in a way that even the older Daniel Craig still looks like an action star. Cinematographer Linus Sandgren makes Bond more stylish, choosing more scenes with him using his firearm than his fists. Even shooting a scene that pays homage to the gun barrel sequence featured in nearly every James Bond film. While Bond does not get into as many physical brawls as he did in previous films it is clear that he is still fit enough to do some of the stunts. The action is also paired with the score in a way that I can only describe as a feast for the senses. The score is breathtakingly beautiful and you can immediately tell from the get-go that this is the work of Hans Zimmer. I said before this is a very emotional James Bond film and the score complements that very well. The final scene may leave tears in your eyes. For someone who says he’s done scoring superhero movies, hearing Zimmer come back and do No Time to Die is a little odd. Yes, James Bond is a super spy but these movies are more similar to a superhero movie than the previous James Bond films ever were. One could say James Bond is synonymous with a superhero considering his fancy gadgets, suave demeanor, and nigh invulnerability and.
Cary Joji Fukunaga does a fine job bringing Bond into the modern era. This is the first film that Bond does not bed some strange woman that he just met. The only woman that he sleeps with during the entire film is Madeline Swann. Although it is alluded to that he possibly slept with other women during their five-year break up as he was willing to sleep with Naomi before she revealed her true identity. This is also the quippiest James Bond out of all the Craig films. I’m surprised we never heard the villain say “come now Mr. Bond, this is no time to die.”
An addition that could have helped this film is a scene with the other “00” agents. We never see any of them throughout the entire series, which I find somewhat strange. 009 is alluded to in Spectre and Naomi is the new 007 in No Time to Die and that’s all we get. This is the most emotional Bond film all around and as a final chapter, it works brilliantly. We have all grown attached to James Bond over the past 15 years and this was a great ending. I give No Time to Die an Excellent 9.8/10. This is indeed James Daniel Craig’s final Bond film and I wish it wasn’t. An even six films would have been great especially with how enjoyable this one was. I would have loved to see some of these characters come back for one more go. Good luck to the next actor to portray 007 because this is a hard act to follow.