This review contains both a non-spoiler and spoiler section.
“No Time To Die” was directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga and is Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond. It follows Bond as he comes out of a five-year-long retirement to stop Lyutsifer Safin from releasing a dangerous new biological weapon.
Daniel Craig has proven himself to be the best James Bond since the release of “Casino Royale,” which is not only the best Bond film, but is also one of the best spy-thrillers ever made. Of all the final movies of a Bond actor, this one was the most important to get right, and, thankfully, the team behind “No Time To Die” succeeded in making a satisfying finale. Although it’s nowhere near as good as “Casino Royale,” it’s still one of the best 007 adventures yet.
Daniel Craig is clearly enjoying the role a lot more than in “Spectre,” and gave his most emotional performance as Bond yet. His passion radiates from the screen. Almost all the other actors were great in the film as well, even those who were given little screen time. Ana de Armas was a true standout as the bubbly and charming CIA agent Paloma despite being in the film for about 5 minutes, and she would be a welcome return to the franchise if she comes back.
Fukunaga’s direction was phenomenal. Like Sam Mendes did with his two Bond films, Fukunaga crafted beautiful setpieces with thrilling action sequences. Fukunaga used long takes, wide shots, and in-camera techniques to make incredibly engaging action scenes.
This film was likely the most emotional Bond film yet, even more so than “Casino Royale” and “Skyfall.” It concludes all the continued plot points from Craig’s previous films and is a true sendoff to this three-dimensional interpretation of the character (more about that in the spoiler section).
This film wasn’t perfect, however. Firstly, it has a runtime of 2h 43min. That’s far too long, even for a film with this much story and action setpieces. The runtime wears the audience down by the time the third act starts. To be honest, I nodded off a couple times toward the end despite the plethora of action sequences it contained. Another weakness of the film was its villains. Rami Malek did his best with what he was given, which was very, very little. Safin was extremely forgettable and brought no distinct physical, psychological, or frightening characteristics to the table. Blofeld was even worse, somehow being duller than he was in “Spectre.” I legitimately don’t understand how the filmmakers casted Christoph Waltz, a world-class actor who previously portrayed one of cinema’s most compelling antagonists, as one of cinema’s most iconic villains and wasted him twice in a row.
“No Time To Die” is a satisfying goodbye to Daniel Craig’s era as Bond, filled with an emotional story, good performances, and riveting action sequences. Although it could have been 15 minutes shorter and needed stronger villains, it’s an extremely enjoyable 007 film.
Bond’s Final Mission: I was shocked to see that Bond dies in this film. It subverted my expectations and provided the ending I always wanted to see in a 007 film. After nearly 60 years and 24 films of Bond somehow surviving all these outlandish events, the 25th entry finally had the guts to kill him off. I’m completely fine with more Bond movies being made after this since this was very much a death that could only take place in the pocket Daniel Craig universe.
“His name was Bond. James Bond.”: The revelation that Bond had a daughter with Madeline was off-putting to me at first, but the idea was executed well enough for me to enjoy the concept, especially since it added stakes to the plot and gave Bond something to truly connect with during all this chaos. It also made his death a lot more tragic than it would have been otherwise; knowing Bond wouldn’t live to see his daughter grow up was actually impactful.