Daniel Craig took over the role of James Bond back in 2006 with Casino Royale. Since that time he has played the character five times, including the upcoming release of No Time to Die.

This latest film in Craig’s 007 run will be his last, as the search for a new 007 will begin next year. How does Daniel Craig’s James Bond swan song play out? Find out with our review of No Time to Die

Review: No Time to Die

When Daniel Craig took over the role of James Bond, the writing team gave him a fresh makeover. He was still the suave British agent, but many of his hi-tech gadgets were moved into the background in favor of a more brutish and forceful take on the character.

Craig’s Bond has more in common with Jason Bourne than many of the previous incarnations of the Bond character. Most people have greatly enjoyed Craig’s take on Bond, but if you prefer GoldenEye, or a more gadget-oriented version of Bond, No Time to Die won’t win you over.

There are plenty of emotional beats in the film that call back to relationships Bond has established throughout Craig’s run. The film feels almost like a diluted version of Avengers: Endgame; the emotional culmination of the four previous Bond films.

If you’ve been keeping up with Craig’s Bond films, there are a lot of emotional payoffs that will tug at your heartstrings. The film calls back to several previous Bond films during Craig’s tenure, tying up loose ends, and concluding storylines.

This is great if you’ve recently watched the older films, but if not, you may be lost. As an example, Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) hasn’t appeared in a Bond film since Quantum of Solace in 2008.

He comes back in No Time to Die, but the audience is immediately expected to know who Leiter is and his importance to Bond, both personally and professionally.

If you don’t remember the details of this character then most of his scenes will fall on deaf ears. The running trend with No Time to Die is call back after call back. Just like a high school algebra exam, if you’ve done the homework you’ll get a lot more out of it.

The writing team on No Time to Die has been working with Craig since his first Bond film, and even handled Pierce Brosnan’s last two (and worst) Bond films.

So while the writers are keenly familiar with the last 15 years of Bond adventures, it would have been nice to offer a few lines of dialogue to refresh audience members who may not be so up to date on all things Bond.

In addition to all of the returning characters, there are a few new faces as well. Lashana Lynch plays the new female 007, Nomi. While the faithful basement dwellers of the internet have already had a plethora of misogynistic comments to make, the writers did most of the heavy lifting for them.

Lynch does her best, playing a hard-nosed, no nonsense 007 who even boasts about how she earned the number. However, her actions within the film are mediocre at best. Early in the film Bond is assisted by fellow agent Paloma (Ana de Armas).

Her scenes are far more impressive than anything Nomi is given to do during the movie. In fact, while Paloma is only featured for a short time, she makes a significant impression on both Bond and the audience.

Meanwhile, the new female 007 is left as Bond’s sidekick at best, or one step behind him at worst.

It’s a disappointing take on the first female 007 that’s reminiscent of Sony’s terribly written and poorly directed all-female Ghostbusters reboot. There’s a ton of potential in Nomi that the writers simply squandered away. The big bad of No Time to Die is Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek).

While Malek plays the character well, the lackluster writing team holds the character hostage with motivations that just don’t add up. There is an indirect connection to the past that will allow some Bond fans to make an emotional connection, but for everyone else he’s a fairly bland bad guy with the depth of Dr. Evil.

While the performances and action sequences are some of the best Craig’s Bond has experienced, your enjoyment of the movie will rely heavily on how well you remember Craig’s last four Bond films.

If you freshen up before you watch No Time to Die, you’ll get a lot more out of Craig’s emotional farewell compared to people who may not have seen a Bond film since 2015.

No Time to Die was delayed nearly a year and a half due to the pandemic, but the writers left a lot riding on the audience remembering relationships that are over a decade old. Without those connections, No Time to Die is just an average action movie.


Pros:

  • If you’ve followed Craig’s Bond films, it’s an emotional farewell to his time with the character.
  • The action sequences are some of the best during Craig’s tenure as Bond.
  • Stellar cast that offers superb performances throughout.
  • Our introduction to the first female 007.

Cons:

  • The main villain has questionable motives.
  • Most of the emotional scenes are lost on anyone who isn’t up to date on all things Bond.
  • The film can be confusing if you’re unfamiliar with the last four Bond movies.
  • Bond has the Rambo syndrome of rarely missing a shot, and almost never taking any hits no matter how far out in the open he may be.

 

Score: 7