No Time to Die is the most conclusive Bond film ever made. Since the Daniel Craig era has always attempted to maintain some form of continuity, his final outing was always going to feel like a swan song. No Time to Die is the twenty-fifth film in the long running franchise, and the first released in the turbulent 2020’s. Although the title sounds like an Ian Fleming novel, it’s just as original as the last 2 Bond films. Craig began his tenure as James Bond as far back as 2006.
Despite only making 5 movies, the frustratingly long time between movies made Craig the longest running Bond actor. I honestly didn’t think he would return with his advancing age and issues with the franchise. I was really worried when people started to question Bond’s relevance, dated methods, and other aspects of the character that shouldn’t be changed. No Time to Die started to make uncomfortable changes, but I had to wait awhile to see how much. Since it became the first major 2020 blockbuster pushed back by the Pandemic…
James Bond drives
The Mission: Track kidnapped MI6 scientist and secure deadly bioweapon “Project Heracles”
Gadgets & Vehicles: Aston Martin DB5 (equipped with machine guns, bullet-proof windscreen, explosive jacks, and smoke screen), Folding Glider, EMP Omega Watch
Bond Girls: Madeleine Swann, Nomi, Paloma
Bond Villains: Lyutsifer Safin, Primo, Logan Ash, Valdo Obruchev
Analysis: After 15 years, No Time to Die concludes everything that was established in Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, and Spectre. At least I think it does. I’ve only seen every Bond film once, so there’s no way I’ll remember every little detail in the franchise. Which is why I prefer each Bond film to have their own self-contained narrative. No Time to Die became the second Bond film I saw in theaters after skipping Spectre. Even though it breaks the record for longest Bond film ever made. At a staggering 2 hours & 43 minutes, No Time to Die leaves no stone unturned. I guess it comes with hiring a director like Cary Joji Fukunaga. The movie returns to the basics by placing the classic gun barrel sequence at the beginning, but changes the cold open by not making it about Bond. One of many reasons the film is so long. Along with very lengthy conversations between characters.
It’s great that classic characters like M, Q, or Moneypenny are present, but we don’t need to spend so much time behind the scenes at MI6. I never think about Bill Tanner, but it is neat to see Jeffrey Wright return as Bond’s best friend Felix Leiter. The opening introduces the latest Bond villain Lyutsifer Safin. Oscar winner Rami Malek checks all the boxes as a terrorist with a creepy voice, facial scars hidden beneath a white mask, vague world conquering motivations, and he even compares himself to Bond. His henchman Primo also stands out with a comically large bionic eye. Safin mostly wants revenge on Mr. White for killing his family. That means the return of White’s daughter Dr. Madeleine Swann from Spectre. Léa Seydoux is the only lead Bond girl to appear in successive films. Although I prefer one and done Bond girls, Madeleine is meant to be the one woman Bond falls in love with. Even though he’s still hung up on Vesper Lynd after all these years. Their trust is broken after an awesome car chase in the gadget equipped Aston Martin DB5.
Followed by an opening credits sequence that seems to blend almost every Bond style together. There are colorful dots seen in the Dr. No opening, statues, silhouettes, close up shots of a naked woman, abstract patterns, and even a double helix made of guns. I’m not a big fan of her music, but the 18 year old Billie Eilish does fit the melancholy tone with the song “No Time to Die.” Despite Bond’s obvious depression, Craig does seem to be having fun with more jokes and one-liners. Gadgets are still sparse, but Q does give him an EMP watch. 007 now lives in Fleming’s home country of Jamaica where he’s once again pulled out of retirement. Probably my biggest annoyance is Bond’s almost complete lack of sexual activity. One of his most defining character traits. Ana de Armas is one of the hottest actresses working in Hollywood, but Paloma is only around as a contact.
At least she feels like a classic Bond girl with a sexy dress, foreign accent, CIA combat training, and bubbly personality. Which is more than I can say for Nomi. Lashana Lynch could’ve been a great Bond girl, but everything about the character feels designed to tick off diehard fans. Not because she’s a black woman, but because she’s an agent who takes the 007 code name and taunts Bond with it every chance she gets. I’m sorry, 007 is more than just a number. More time is spent on action that constantly puts Bond in harm’s way. No Time to Die has chilling parallels to 2020 by making a nanobot virus Safin’s master plan. Bond thinks Blofeld is behind everything, but Spectre is wiped out in a matter of minutes. In fact, death is a common theme in the movie. Any line you think the franchise would never cross could happen at any moment. Leaving me with very mixed emotions by the end. I don’t know what the future holds for James Bond, but I hope they respect the fans enough not to change everything that makes the spy endearing. No Time to Die goes out with a bang.
James Bond meets Paloma in a bar
James Bond will return