Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga
Starring Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Lea Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Christoph Waltz, and Ralph Fiennes
No Time to Die has to be one of the most troubled James Bond productions. After his infamous interview around the release of Spectre, where Daniel Craig said he’d rather slash his wrists than play Bond again, that sparked a whole bunch of rampant media speculation as to whether Craig would be returning or not. Craig did eventually sign on, and then they had trouble keeping a director. They finally found a keeper in Cary Joji Fukunaga, And then, COVID closed the movie theaters. It’s original November 2019 release date got pushed back all the way to October 2021. But, as it was made clear that this would be Craig’s final outing, this led to a unique opportunity: the creators could give Bond a definitive ending.
Spectre ends with Bond riding off into the sunset with his newfound love Dr. Madeleine Swann. The film starts shortly after. Bond believes that Swann sold him out to Spectre, and he and Swann part ways. Five years later, Bond is living in retirement in Jamaica, when his old CIA buddy Felix Leiter pays a call. Turns out a former Spectre scientist working for the British Secret Service has been abducted. Knowing what project that scientist was working on, Bond is pressed back into service, much to the chagrin of his former bosses, and Agent Nomi, who has inherited the 007 number. It’s a mission that will have Bond running into friends both old and new, back into the life of Madeleine, and on the trail of a rogue assassin name Safin. Will Bond be able to track down Safin and save the world?
What I Liked
As is the hallmark for the James Bond films, there’s some truly spectacular action sequences. We get, not just one, but several great James Bond car chases. Craig gives it his all in his final outing as Bond, as does the entire cast. I think Ralph Fiennes makes a fantastic M, and I hope they keep him around for the next Bond. And there’s some truly great Easter eggs and callbacks to the rest of the franchise…specifically, some musical ones that Hans Zimmer slipped into his score.
What I Didn’t Like
At 2 hours and 43 minutes, this is officially the longest James Bond film, and it feels like it. Sadly, was looking at my watch more than once. And Rami Malek’s Safin remains just a little too mysterious for a villain. We never really get to know him.
A spectacular sendoff to the Daniel Craig era of James Bond. I’ve loved them, but I sure hope the next Bond gets back to formula.