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No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond

There hasn’t been a single 007 who required a farewell in the 50-plus years of James Bond films. When the time came, the actors simply stood down and handed over the reins to someone else. However, when Daniel Craig took on the role of this formidable British MI6 spy, things began to look good. Also not only inhabited the flesh of this Godly hero, but he humanized him.

007 was no longer merely a vicious mercenary with a penchant for gorgeous women and a shaken, not stirred, vodka martini. He was someone who was personally invested in the game of world-saving. Bond has experienced immense heartbreak, had his balls whipped up, and was frequently beaten to an utter pulp by the bad guys in the five films in which Daniel Craig has appeared. Essentially, Craig made us sit up and take notice despite the invincibility that Ian Fleming’s 007 was imbued with.

After repeated delays, first due to Danny Boyle’s departure from the director’s chair due to artistic differences, and then due to the COVID-19 epidemic, it is now time to bid farewell. No Time to Die, directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective), is likewise about saving the world. But the stakes are as high as they could possibly be.

Following the events of Spectre, the narrative begins (2015). After infiltrating Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s organisation — Bond’s antagonist who also happens to be his half-brother – Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) and Bond are living off the grid in Matera, Italy. Bond is ambushed by Blofeld’s assassin as they are attempting to build a life apart from the horrors they have witnessed, and the couple is forced to split ways for good.

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After 5 years, Bond has retired and is now residing in Jamaica. On the opposite side of the world, things go out of hand when M’s (Ralph Fiennes) Bioware plan ‘Heracles,’ along with its scientist Obruchev, is taken from a secret laboratory (David Dencik). This irritates both the MI6 and the CIA, who tackle the situation differently.

While M intends to assign his newly designated 007 – Nomi (Lashana Lynch) to the investigation, Bond is forced to join in on the fun when personal links surface. This results in a lot of cross-locking; Bond meets his now-imprisoned half-brother, who is being watched over by a psychiatrist who is the last person he wants to meet (you got it, Madeline Swann).

All of this, however, has more to do with the mysterious, masked character presented in the film’s beautiful prologue. Secrets, played by Rami Malek with monk-like grace and a deep personal grudge, hold the key to the mystery at the heart of No Time to Die.

Everything about the film screams big screen spectacle, with a running period of 2 hours 43 minutes – making it the longest Bond picture ever. There’s always something going on in the film (unlike Spectre or Quantum of Solace, which couldn’t keep up), and you can see that filmmaker Fukunaga is anxious to go big or go bankrupt with each passing minute. The set pieces are magnificent. They are a mash-up of what makes Bond films fascinating — over-the-top campy action, carefully followed by more realistic and exhilarating material.

There isn’t a single second wasted on expositions that will tell the audience where they are and where they’re going. For better or worse, the film implies that if you’re watching it, you’re already familiar with Bond’s universe. There are also some truly beautiful and emotionally affecting passages near the end that will satisfy any Bond fan who has been waiting for more than 5 years.

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The drawback here is an underdeveloped enemy who, for the first time, feels scary. As previously stated, the stakes are quite high in this film, but once Safin’s (the character played by Malek) objectives are revealed, the mystique around him dissipates.

The same can be stated about Lashana Lynch’s 007 character. Let’s face it: she’s not going to be able to match the charisma of Ian Fleming’s Bond. While co-writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge was brought in specifically to mould the female characters and make them more than just damsels in distress, their overall narrative feels a little shaky. The absurdity with which Ana de Armas’ character is dismissed following what could possibly be the most imaginative and weirdly exhilarating episode in the entire film stands out like a sore thumb. Those issues aside, Linus Sandgren’s photography on No Time to Die is stunning. While Hans Zimmer’s score is great in places, it might feel a little needless in others.

But does it really matter? This is a swan song that is worth every minute of its length. No Time to Die is a poignant tribute to a talent who merited the part. Few people remember how outraged the internet was when he was first cast as James Bond. But I’m sure everyone will remember him as the finest of the best. I’d raise a glass to him. Not stirred, but shaken!

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No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond
No Time to Die Review: A Busy and Exciting Farewell to Daniel Craig’s James Bond

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