No Time To Die – Film Review
The world has been waiting for you, Mr Bond, and indeed it was at least an 18-month delay before No Time to Die finally hit the cinemas in these pandemic-stricken times. So, was it worth the wait you might ask. The answer is a resounding yes although its lengthy run time and various elements introduced, reflective of a modern day lens, may divide loyal Bond fans. But, at least people will be talking about this worthy, epic, stylish, action packed swansong for Daniel Craig.
It would not be reductive to describe No Time to Die as the Bond version of the epic Marvel film End Game with a grand finale and its attempts to connect all of the other Bond films in the Daniel Craig series for this finish. No Time to Die does almost feel episodic in that sense as, similar to Spectre, it re-introduces characters, such as Ernst Blofeld and Madeleine Swann, from the previous four re-booted Bond films starring Craig. There is that sense of familiarity viewing the old villains and hearing the references to Bond’s first true love, Vesper Lynd, whose betrayal led him to be the mercenary assassin that he is today, with a penchant for classic Aston Martin cars and Martinis.
With Bond in retirement since the end of Spectre, reminiscent of aspects of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the introductory song, ‘We Have All the Time in the World’ reminds us of the sense of time. Cleverly, there is also the interweaving of Billie Eilish’s theme song over the course of the film serving as that reminder of that concept of time and its fragility. No Time to Die, however, has moments where that sense of time seems to have been forgotten. Such scenes, although beautifully shot, are too slow paced for a film of this nature where every second counts. Still, the thrilling action set pieces are there to provide that expected entertainment with the customary explosions and collateral damage from Bond.
Craig’s Bond, however, delivered a vulnerable, sensitive aspect to the characteristically loveable rogue as he found time for love and had concern for his colleagues, which are elements brought over into No Time to Die. However, the film lacks the same emotional resonance of Skyfall to a degree, amongst some of the John Wick style, single take action sequences, but it is exciting to see more humour à la the Roger Moore years.
Bond and Lashana Lynch’s Nomi, the new ‘00’, have undeniably great chemistry and their team dynamics are amusing to watch. Nomi’s razor-sharp repartee certainly keeps Bond on his toes. It is true that Lynch’s presence as well as Ana de Armas’ Paloma provide that often-needed modern day element of female representation in a Bond film, beyond being consigned to a love interest. Paloma and Nomi could indeed have their own spin off with their high kicking antics, reminiscent of Grace Jones’ May Day from A View to A Kill, as their screen time in No Time to Die, whilst enjoyable, felt insufficient given the film’s length.
Perhaps, just as Bond has had these recent continuous storylines, Paloma and Nomi could eventually grace our screens once more. A pairing between the two, within an exotic Bond era location, would certainly be entertaining. Plus, their dynamics should satisfy most audiences, particularly where there have been discussions as to whether a ‘00’ could be a woman.
No Time to Die is an epic thriller, as it aims to pack in every type of Bond sequence imaginable to tie up all of those unconnected threads over the years. It is truly a film to please most fans with dazzling panoramic cinematography in those exotic locations, with fun scenes in Jamaica, and death-defying stunts which expand the film’s content. The visuals combined with the performances will certainly impress although Raimi Malek’s villain seems like a cardboard cut out villain and not as menacing as his predecessors in his quest for world domination.
Despite a predictable arc, this is a Bond film after all, the iconic Bond tropes are satisfyingly delivered until No Time to Die’s breath-taking emotional denouement. It is an unexpected but equally fitting conclusion to Craig’s tenure as Bond. Cary Joji Fukunaga and Phoebe Waller-Bridge have struck the right note and delivered a heart stopping, spectacular Bond finale that sometimes feels as though it is merely touching the surface with its potential for some of the characters.
No Time to Die deliciously symbolises Craig’s Bond era, with a bang, and therefore inadvertently highlights just how much we shall miss this nuanced performance of a complex Bond that only Daniel Craig could deliver.