No Time To Die – Review

Daniel Craig as James Bond in No Time to Die – Courtesy of Universal Pictures

If No Time To Die were a Vodka Martini, the cocktail would be a well-shaken beverage; consisting of 1 part Bond flair, 1 part heart inducing action sequences, and 2 parts raw emotion – all poured into the Martini glass that is Daniel Craig’s best performance as 007. No Time To Die has all the action, charm, and humor that a Bond film should consist of, as well as a new element of emotion to further enhance and dissect this classic character.

No Time To Die is not just a James Bond film, but also a Daniel Craig film. No Time To Die gives Daniel Craig all the gadgets he needs to equip himself with, to deliver one of his most passionate portrayals of the Bond character yet. Bond goes through a range of emotions during the film and Craig is able to showcase a balance of sadness, love, intensity, and charm that the character goes through, and more often than not this happens all at once. With all the issues Daniel Craig has had in the past for portraying this character, it can easily be seen that he gave it his all throughout this film to further cement himself as one of the greatest Bond actors of this modern era. The large ensemble cast also gets their moment to shine throughout No Time To Die. The relationship between Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) and James Bond is explored even further here, despite their relationship skipping a few beats at the start of the film, but the journey taken to reach this film’s final moments is worth the sacrifice. Newcomers Lashana Lynch and Ana de Armas are both wonderful additions. The rivalry between Lynch’s Nomi and Bond is often overdone, but the bickering has its moments of comedic brilliance. Ana de Armas’ Paloma on the other hand is a breath of fresh energetic fun that every Bond film should have and while she may not be in the film quite long enough, the chemistry she has with Craig as somewhat of a sidekick is enough for one to fall in love with her. Unfortunately Rami Malek’s Lyutsifer Safin falls into the long line of wasted Bond villains. The motives are dull and generic, and unfortunately, Rami Malek suffers at the end of the day with such a weak character.

Not only do we have to deal with the emotion of No Time To Die being Daniel Craig’s final film as the iconic character, but the film itself doubles down on the emotion. Never has a Bond film felt this emotional, nor have the stakes ever felt so high. From the moment of the opening scene the film has been building toward an emotional climax and it puts Bond through numerous emotional hurdles of heartbreaks, sacrifices, and reunions – the emotional payoff is a heavy one that will linger around for days to come. No Time To Die may not reach the heights of Skyfall or Goldfinger, and that’s okay; it was never meant to challenge the top films of this franchise. The one thing it will have over any other Bond film, is a fitting farewell for the character and the actor. Daniel Craig’s story of James Bond has been told across five films which concludes in an emotionally satisfying way, while the previous iterations of James Bond were given an abrupt ending. Craig’s version of James Bond was given a start and a conclusion making the story feel more compelling and complete.

Daniel Craig & Léa Seydoux as James Bond & Madeleine Swann in No Time To Die – Courtesy of Universal Pictures

No Time To Die has easily stepped up its production game, with stunning location choices such as Italy, London, Jamaica, Norway and the Faroe Islands each given their chance to showcase their grand landscapes. While it may not reach the heights of Casino Royale or Skyfall, No Time To Die has enough action sequences that will cause your jaw to drop. The opening sequence of the film is a pure motorcycle chasing, guns blazing and Aston Martin evading adrenaline rush. This is only topped off in the film’s climax where we quite possibly see one of the greatest one-man-army sequences of James Bond ever on film. Bond fights his way through a staircase swarming with Bond villains and thugs with a grounded sleek sense of style that increases the tension and stakes for Bond to conquer. 

On the side of sound, Hans Zimmer delivers a Bond score like no other we have heard in the past. The classy brass orchestra pieces for the film’s tender moments can suddenly change in heart inducing bass which is sure to make your ears bleed. Hans Zimmer also embraced the past with his musical score by slowing down the main theme of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) and also using Louis Armstongs “We Have All the Time in the World” during the film’s closing stages. The opening title song of “No Time To Die” performed beautifully by Billie Eilish, the perfect breather after the film’s opening sequence, the leitmotif to this piece is incorporated beautifully into the film throughout Bond and Madeleine scenes.

No Time To Die is a worthy final chapter in the Daniel Craig saga of James Bond. Not only did the film embrace the past, but it also revolutionised James Bond for the modern world and the new generation of fans to come. After the last five films I think it is safe to say that the debate of the best Bond actor is now over and Daniel Craig can be crowned as the one true Mr Bond.

8.5/10

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