No Time to Die marks Daniel Craig’s fifth and final outing as Ian Fleming’s superspy, James Bond and despite the many, many delays this film has endured over the last year or so and the fact I told myself I wasn’t overly interested in seeing it, I found myself sitting in a packed cinema on opening weekend anyway.
I was apprehensive about this film to say the least. Not for any dubious reason that I thought it would be bad, but because I’d seen that much footage over the last year with various trailers I wasn’t sure there would be any material left for the big screen. However, practically every expectation, desire or prediction I had for No Time to Die fell flat was outdone by film makers giving one of the best Bond experiences of all time.
Now fair warning that this article will contain some spoilers, but for the most part, in terms of plot at least, this review will be spoiler free outside of anything seen in the film’s marketing campaign.
The first thing that comes to mind about No Time to Die is that while it serves as the concluding chapter to Daniel Craig’s portrayal as Bond, the film itself feels like a love letter to the franchise as a whole with Easter Eggs and references to other films littered throughout. You already knew that Sean Connery’s Aston Martin DB5 was going to be making an appearance but so too does the Aston Martin V8 made famous by Timothy Dalton in The Living Daylights. The title sequence also evokes that early 60’s vibe found in Dr. No while Hanz Zimmer makes use of certain musical themes found in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Cary Joji Fukunaga, a name I was completely unfamiliar with, does a stunning job in the director’s chair and crafts one of the best Bond films ever committed to screen and I’d honestly say it holds a place firmly as one of my favourite Bond films every alongside Skyfall and GoldenEye. However, this is probably the most human James Bond has ever been and the most vulnerable we’ve ever seen the character throughout his near six decade run on the cinema screen.
Craig shines here in the role of Bond and is perhaps his overall best portrayal of the character since Casino Royale as he’s much less the angry hitman he became in later outings and comes across as being much more likeable and sympathetic that he has in the past.
Léa Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Wishaw, Christoph Waltz and Jeffrey Wright all return to the fold with newcomers like Ana de Armas and Lashana Lynch bringing something fresh to the table. My biggest gripe about the film really is the inclusion of Rami Malik as Bond’s adversary this time around as I didn’t buy him as a credible threat and as a result he just fades away into being just another throw away villain.
At this point I don’t think there’s really much more I can say about No Time to Die without delving into deep spoiler territory but rest assured when I say that this is a film that’s sure to please fans of Bond’s history as well as those only interested in the Daniel Craig run of films. Talk has already begun on who people expect to play James Bond next but in my opinion, not only is it too early to be having those talks, I think a No Time to Die and Craig’s run as Bond a whole, needs more time to breathe before someone else steps into his shoes.
by Edward Laing