James Bond is back with a new adventure and a send off for actor Daniel Craig, with No Time to Die being Craig’s last go at the legendary character. But while he was in top form as the beloved MI6 agent in 2012’s box office hit Skyfall, Craig’s Bond should have retired and stayed away from spy life instead of doing No Time To Die.
With an overloaded script, that was probably built by MGM board members and producers who just said yes to everything Bond-related, the movie, directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, is three films instead of one and forces character development just to move the story along.
Bond is driven out of retirement to assist MI6 to stop his old nemesis, Blofeld (played by Christoph Waltz), and the terrorist organization Spectre.
But when Spectre members are killed by a new bio weapon used by villain Lyutsifer Safin (played by Rami Malek), Bond must stop Safin who threatens to bring the world to its knees in name of family. This all happens while Safin hunts down Bond’s love interest, Dr. Madeleine Swann (played by Léa Seydoux), for his own safety against Bond.
In No Time to Die, you have 2012’s Skyfall Bond, the serious country-loving-British soldier with actor Ralph Fiennes’ M and the rest of the MI6 gang.
Then you have Spectre Bond, which is a throwback to the campiness of the Bond films in the 70s and 80s. The comedic dialogue amongst the MI6 gang adds unnecessary humour in key dramatic moments.
The Cuba scene early in the film harkens back to Roger Moore’s island-trotting Bond, but is displayed in cartoonish cinematography is more reminiscent of a Heineken commercial than a spy in Cuba.
Old James Bond tropes showed up in No Time to Die.
The number of Aston Martins used in the film would make one to question if Michael Bay was behind the camera shooting an ad.
The amusement park feel for Craig to walk right through the film minimized the impact Craig had on franchise. Actor Pierce Brosnan’s last Bond film, 2002’s Die Another Day, fell victim to the same carnival ride.
The use of the talented and beautiful Ana de Armas as a silly Bond girl being part of the action pulls the viewer out of the seriousness at hand and any dire events after.
Family-man Bond, who lacks the motivation for the seriousness Craig tried to give the character in his tenure, also makes an appearance. From the arrogant young 007 in Casino Royale, to the depressed alcoholic in Skyfall, No Time to Die gives us a family man who can’t have a family.
While ropes are part of the Bond franchise, so is social commentary.
This is the first Bond film to introduce Lashana Lynch, a Black woman, as 007 but the action takes away any dramatics with silliness and revives the circus act of Die Another Day.
After putting 15 years of work into an emotional and damaged James Bond, Daniel Craig’s Bond just doesn’t hit the target.
But like always, “James Bond will return.”
Maybe he’ll have better aim next time.