No Time To Die is simultaneously the most Bond film and anti-Bond film in the series canon to date. This mix of leaning into the favourite parts of the series yet in this case, as self-aware as possible, No Time To Die feels like a perfect conclusion to the Daniel Craig portion of the films. It’s funny, enjoyable, expansive, dramatic and, most shockingly, emotional.
In this rendition of 007, Bond returns to the force at the request of Felix (Jeffrey Wright), a CIA agent. This frustrates Bond’s former superior M (Ralph Fiennes) and provides significant tension in the film. Spectre, the terrorist organisation from the previous film is still prevalent despite the incarceration of Blofield (Christoph Waltz) and in its place is the elusive Safin (Rami Malek) who has a history with Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux), now Bond’s lover. The stakes are even higher with the replacement of Bond by a new 007 Nomi (Lashana Lynch) who makes the position her own, becoming the ultimate Bond girl as 007 herself.
The emotion is what sets this film away from the rest of the films in the series and its slow revealing is likely to be the most enjoyed by audiences. Beginning by running away and living his life with Madeleine, Bond’s enduring love and trauma around the death of his love interest Vesper (Eva Green) in Casino Royale gives insight into the thinking of Bond himself and strongly positions his emotional development for the remains of the film.
Unfortunately, there is still not strong chemistry between Craig and Seydoux, a similar problem in the previous film, and unfortunately daunts the drama of the film. The writing by director Cary Joji Fukunaga, Neil Purvis, Robert Wade and Phoebe Waller-Bridge is spot on, hitting each note with meaning and drama. The more comedic moments are also some of the best in the series to date, with Ana de Armas’ short inclusion as Paloma, a Cuban agent, is brilliant to watch and injects a much needed fun spark into the films more overall sombre tone.
As a Bond film, No Time To Die hits the mark. Its action sequences are huge and international backdrops are awe-inspiring, with a narrative that is set in stone and at times feels like it belongs to another film. It suffers from too many characters, unresolved moments for others such as Moneypenny and an unbaked villain in the form of Safin, but its moments between Nomi and Bond generate the right laughs and it’s emotional conclusion is the bombastic swan song it intended go be.
Its pacing and execution is pretty spot-on, and Craig display of humanity as the hero is genuine and a welcome release to the story that has been overly committed to big action scenes and sexy women as a form of masculinity in the past. While it doesn’t always land its punches and may have bitten off more than it can chew, it works as the grand farewell to Craig’s involvement in the series and will be a lasting moment for fans and audiences for the next few years.