No Time to Die – Film Review

Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga

Writers: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Cary Joji Fukunaga and Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Starring: Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Léa Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Christoph Waltz, David Dencik, Ana de Amas and Ralph Fiennes

Rating: ★★★★

Finally, after eighteen months of delays No Time to Die is finally here. It’s taken so long for the new entry to the Bond series to arrive that its name has gone from sounding like a parody to a classic title we’ve all known since childhood, like You Only Live Twice or For Your Eyes Only. This is also Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond, fifteen years after he set a new standard with his debut in Casino Royale. The fifteen years also makes Craig the longest running Bond, with No Time to Die as a fitting swan song.

Craig has always put his all into playing Bond, it’s his career defining role and he’s still on top form in No Time to Die. He is an excellent Bond and will be a hard actor to replace. This is without a doubt, his film (as it should be) and while the additional characters are all great, they don’t steal the show. When he was first cast way back when, criticisms were thrown around that he wasn’t right for the role, being blond and rough around the edges. He’s disproved critics time and time again and has done the same with No Time to Die.

The previous film, Spectre, tied all of Craig’s films together under the banner of the secret organisation named Spectre. No Time to Die continues this, picking up five years after James and Madeline walked off into the sunset. His happy ending, as expected, doesn’t last long and he’s brought back into the world of espionage in a plot that involves a bioweapon that can target its victims with nanobots.

Cary Joji Fukunaga wonderfully directs exciting action sequences, with a stunning opening, followed by massive set pieces and a climactic finale that has you on the edge of your seat. Even though the runtime is heading close to three hours, it doesn’t feel long at all. The script is tight, and every scene feels necessary. The punchy dialogue is filled with comedy and emotional weight. The film does not shy away from being the end of an era. Craig’s Bond has always felt more grounded and three dimensional compared to previous incarnations and all that has been built up in the films since Casino Royale is paid off here.

Lashana Lynch is excellent as Nomi the new ‘00’ agent that has replaced Bond since his retirement. The way Nomi and James play off each other is perfect and one of the highlights of the film. Nomi is a great character, and it would be a real shame for her not to appear in future films. Joining Nomi is another spy, Paloma (Ana de Amas), who only gets a brief and great appearance. Paloma is a great character, who Amas plays perfectly, and really deserved a bigger part in the film.

The villain this time around is oscar winning Rami Malek as Lyutsifer Safin. Malek’s role is sporadic throughout the film, not getting a lot of screen time, but whenever Malek is on screen he is sinister and intense. Safin will go down as an iconic Bond villain.

Favourites from Craig’s era appear in what feels like a victory lap for returning characters, who appear in smaller roles throughout. Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) is back, as is Felix (Jeffrey Wright), M (Ralph Fiennes), Q (Ben Whishaw) and Moneypenny (Naomie Harris). It’s a true reward to long-time fans of Craig’s era.

Without going into spoilers, for what is one of the most anticipated films of the last two years, No Time to Die lives up to the hype in almost every way. The only downfall is the ending. It feels really cheap and it’s a real shame after such a great film.  

No Time to Die manages to honour the almost sixty years of Bond’s legacy (almost seventy if you are going by the novels), while at the same time breathing new life into the series, with fresh ideas, higher stakes, and great characters, all of which makes this a vital entry to the long running series. The final five minutes don’t detract from that. Craig’s era is the definitive Bond era and No Time to Die is a great send-off to it.

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About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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