85 / 100
Watchable Minutes : 163 / 163. This is a long, long movie but it’s as gorgeous and masterfully made as any other Bond movie. Every moment is worth watching.
Trailer Comparison : This trailer is Bond to a T. It’s very representative of the final product that the audience gets to see on screen. There’s a lot of good action that is saved for the screen which is a huge plus.
Movie or Film : This franchise is all movies, no real messages to be shared.
- Run time : 2 hrs 43 minutes
- Studio : MGM Studios
- Director : Cari Joji Fukunaga
- Where to Watch : In Theaters
James Bond has retired from active service, but of his own accord. But when longtime friend and ally Felix Leitner shows up on his doorstep in Jamaica, Bond is brought back in to track down a mysterious villain armed with a new technology that can only spell destruction for the world.
There’s a lot to be said about Daniel Craig’s tenure as James Bond. He’s the bond I grew up with, being born in ’97, I was too young to appreciate the Brosnan era, so when I think of Bond, I usually think of Craig or Sean Connery. The Connery thing is only because my dad’s name is Sean and his parents chose that spelling because of Connery. But back to Daniel Craig – for a lot of people my age, he’s the go-to Bond and all I’ve really known. I think he’s an incredibly talented actor and his portrayal of the ever-impressive James Bond will be a tough act to follow. I am eager to see what’s next, but I don’t envy the next person to take up the mantle.
No Time To Die begins with a holiday trip for Bond and his beloved Madeleine Swann. At her behest, Bond goes to the nearby acropolis to visit Vesper Lynd’s grave and put that part of his life to bed. Upon arriving at her tomb, an explosion knocks Bond off his feet and after he comes to, he realizes that this is a setup. He races back to the hotel to get Madeleine but encounters several henchmen along the way. After finally getting to Madeliene, Bond seems to think that she has sold him out. He angrily takes her with him and tries to engineer an escape that ends up with the couple saying goodbye at a train station. Five years later, Bond is living in Jamaica enjoying the quiet life he feels he’s owed. He goes into town and notices he is being tailed. Not one to ignore this sort of thing, Bond corners the tail and he is surprised to see it is an old friend in Felix Leiter and his partner. Bond and Leiter head to a local bar to talk. Leiter informs Bond that there’s something big going on and asks for his help. Not wanting to get back into the game, Bond excuses himself from the conversation and leaves Leiter and his partner empty-handed. As Bond is attempting to leave the town and return home, his car won’t start and he hitches a ride with a young woman who stopped to help him. When they arrive at his house, the young woman reveals herself as the newest 007 agent from MI6. She warns him that he is to stay out of her way and to stay out of the game or else. She departs and Bond decides that he’s not one to really sit out of this sort of thing, he phones Felix and agrees to help.
From this point onwards, No Time To Die is fast-paced, smartly written, and stunning to look at like any Bond movie should be. There’s a lot of things to like about this movie. The first is the impressive performance by Daniel Craig. He exemplifies everything that a modern Bond should be while retaining all the elements of previous versions that make the character so damn cool. Craig is an impressive actor and has made dozens of quality movies with stellar performances aplenty. But for better or for worse, his lasting legacy will be his tenure as Bond and I think that’s one of the best legacies to have. Whoever follows Craig as Bond will have their work cut out for them because of how well received his interpretation has been. Aside from Daniel Craig, Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes, and Ben Whishaw as Eve Moneypenny, M, and Q respectively. They each have earned their place in the final Craig Bond movie by creating impressive chemistry with each other and by carrying their scenes on their own. I particularly enjoy Ralph Fiennes as M because of how different, but respectful it is of Dame Judi Dench’s M. The newest face to the supporting actor team is Lashana Lynch who plays Nomi, the newest 007. Her demeanor as a double-O walks the line between confidence and arrogance but is impressive nonetheless. She came off as smart, skillful, deadly, but aware enough to know that it’s time to play support and not to lead. I think some of the credit belongs to the writing, but Lynch definitely made an impact on me.
There are so many characters to talk about since I’m betting that we won’t see any of these actors in these roles again so I’m going to spend some more time talking about them. Jeffrey Wright has always been a pleasure to watch as Felix Leiter and I think that his scenes are some of what makes this whole espionage thriller work so well. Ana De Armas is also a stone-cold stunner in this movie, playing an American agent that assists Bond during his short mission in Cuba. She didn’t have a ton of screen time, but she made the most of it and earned some solid recognition. Next up is the Bond Girl, Lea Seydoux as Madeliene Swann. This is her second go-around playing a Bond girl and she brings more depth and life to the character. I liked her performance last time, despite the weak Spectre introduction she had, but she really built on it in No Time To Die. And lastly, is Rami Malek as Lyutsifer Safin, the crazed supervillain that Bond shows down with this time. Malek is an awesome actor most of the time and is somebody I want to see in more things, but he doesn’t really land it as a villain for me. The motivation just doesn’t really fit and he doesn’t seem menacing or angry enough. He’s basically Hitler, which is an awful comparison, but he isn’t anything new. His final act of vengeance against Bond is brilliant though and ensured that Bond was painted into a corner to end the movie.
On to the writing – which as I said above – is sharp and well done. The stories and character arcs are all closed out nicely, leaving it all on the table. There aren’t any open-ended issues to discuss because everything was resolved, which created a feeling of finality. Aside from the finality, I got a feeling of satisfaction. I thought that the motivations and character backgrounds meshed together nicely. I mentioned above that Lashana Lynch’s character Nomi was well written and that’s one of the best examples I can give. Each character stayed in their lane but still grew and developed throughout the slightly bloated run time. They all played nice and resolved their conflicts in the end and were able to work together to create an impressive ending. Despite all that, I can’t help but feel that it’s safe. There’s nothing fresh about the main character meeting their demise to avoid endless sequel loops.
The last two things I want to talk about are the visuals and the directing. No Time To Die is impressive in the visuals department but doesn’t really break new ground. It’s probably better to save that for the next reboot anyway. Jamaica, Cuba, and the interior shots on the island were fantastic. I thought the shot of the team repelling down the window felt like it was inspired by The Dark Knight Rises in some capacity. Cary Joji Fukunaga isn’t somebody I’d consider to be “up and coming”, but more of a dark horse director. He strikes me as a solid pick if you have a good concept that he can mesh with. I really loved his work on True Detective season one, like most people did. Based on his filmography, he plays to his strengths and knows what type of movie he wants to make.
No Time To Die is a strong, but safe conclusion, to Daniel Craig’s tenure as James Bond. Smart, funny, and well written, Cary Joji Fukunaga brings this iteration to a close with the help of Rami Malek, Ana De Armas, and a host of other A-listers in this enjoyable Bond flick.