While traditionally action movies, each James Bond film has their own tropes that they typically adhere to. 007 meets a beautiful woman (“Bond girls” no longer) who has some secretive tie to the film’s villain. The aforementioned villain is never alone — he always has a nefarious henchman who does his dirty work before being axed by Bond in a completely satisfying way.
No Time to Die, Daniel Craig’s last outing as the MI6 super spy, is not immune to these tropes, and it definitely knows it. In fact, it also knows that this is the last time Craig will inhabit the role, so it decides to take its sweet time with seeing him off — 2 hours and 43 minutes of time, in fact. This makes it the longest Bond film in history, but the runtime surprisingly isn’t too much of an issue. The story and pacing are rapidly-paced enough so that something is always happening, and the concept of boredom isn’t allowed to exist.
Five years after Bond’s last outing, Spectre, he’s retired from the espionage game, but as is with any retired action hero, just when he thought he was out, something happens to pull him back in. This time it’s a (surprisingly timely) scheme by Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek), a rather fascinating character who considers himself to be a hero akin to Bond — albeit in his own twisted way.
A heavy burden on the shoulders of No Time to Die is the responsibility of tying up the loose plot threads of Craig’s tenure as Bond — definitely the most serialized term of any actor to embody the role. The criminal organization of Spectre has been controlling every villainous plot that Craig’s Bond has encountered in the films, so it’s only right that they are given the sendoff they deserve…by being thrown to the side. Christoph Waltz also returns as Spectre’s incarcerated leader Ernst Stavro Blofeld, but he’s sidelined in favor of Rami Malek’s Safin, who I can’t quite disassociate from Malek’s sensibilities and previous roles. That's the risk of casting big-name actors in character roles, I suppose.
|An outdated poster for No Time to Die.|
No Time to Die is by-the-numbers Bond, touring exotic locales while simultaneously beating up the bad guys and attempting to stop a nefarious, world-ending plot. Twenty-five movies later, Bond is still going strong — and he will continue to go strong for the foreseeable future. [Grade: A]
Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Writers: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Phoebe Waller-Bridge