The final installment of the Craig era of the James Bond franchise, “No Time To Die,” directed by Cary Joji Fukanaga, concludes with the most fitting final chapter of Daniel Craig’s iconic role as the hero James Bond.
The movie makes a bold choice by raising the stakes to where it almost doesn’t feel like a James Bond movie, which I actually appreciated. The film adds an almost horror-like, mystery element that keeps the audience’s eyes wide open, instead of the basic missions that the 007 franchise has used in the past. The interesting thing about the Daniel Craig franchise is that the movies actually continue each story right where the other left off. That’s part of the reason why the 007 franchise has grown over the years and will look to expand their universe as a whole.
In “No Time To Die,” Bond actually stays with the love of his life from the last film, which is something that has never happened in previous Bond eras. This explores deeper into the relationship that Bond had developed with her in the previous film, “Spectre” from 2015.
The film shows Bond and his girlfriend Madeleine, played by Lea Sydoux, enjoying their life together and vacationing in Italy because, according to Bond, they have “all the time in the world.” Little does Bond know that Spectre, a secret terrorist organization that has always been after him, has found out where he’s been hiding and attacks him. This leads Bond to believe that Madeleine betrayed him because of her previous ties to Spectre. This causes him to drop her off at the train station and banish her, saying she “will never hear from him again.” Billie Eillish’s “No Time To Die” finally plays to introduce the opening credits after the 20-minute opening scene. In my opinion, Billie Eilish is part of the reason for this movie’s success, knocking its theme song out of the park.
Continuing with the trend of bold ideas, the film fast forwards to five years later and Bond is retired as an MI6 agent, enjoying a quiet life in Jamaica. That is until Felix, played by Jeffrey Wright, shows up and meets up with Bond, warning him that something bigger than ever is happening and asks Bond to return. Bond then meets a mysterious woman named Nomi, played by Lashana Lynch, who he finds out is the new 007. I really liked this new character and the chance they took with bringing her in as a Robin to James Bonds’ Batman. This was a risk which, in my opinion, pays off later in the film and makes me wonder what they could do with the character in the next film.
The middle of the movie is fun and exciting, with explosive missions and tons of action. I do wish there was more screen time for Ana De Armas. I was very interested in her character, Poloma, and I do wonder what could become of her in the future. I was disappointed with her lack of importance considering the mission at the birthday party of Bond’s enemy, Blofeld, was probably my favorite part of the whole movie. The chemistry was fantastic and something I wish I could’ve seen more of.
Finally, the performance by Rami Malek as the main villain, Safin, was something that I longed for, and for the most part, was worth the wait. His performance was brilliant and brought a different point of view for the audience by having a compelling motivation for his ways. I loved seeing this instead of having a guy who wants to take over the world for no reason. I also loved seeing his character development as he became scarier throughout the film and I even liked that he lost his soft spot for Madeleine even though he saved her in the flashback in the beginning of the film when she was a child.
When Bond finally reunites with Madeleine after learning she didn’t betray him and is the only one who has knowledge of Safin, he learns that he has a daughter. The creators of this film had gone outside the box, and it really paid off — especially when they were able to use this to the film’s advantage by raising the stakes when Safin kidnaps her. For the first time ever, James Bond has to save his family. Which brings us to our thrilling conclusion.
After a showdown with Safin, Bond gets his family off the island where Safin’s lair is and he kills Safin. But Bond is already poisoned and is forced to make the ultimate sacrifice: himself. In one of the most stunning moments in cinema, Bond is faced with no choice. Because he is poisoned, he cannot touch his family without killing them, therefore giving him no choice but to sacrifice himself, as he knows that the plan to blow up Safins secret base is happening. Moments before, he calls Nomi and asks to speak with Madeleine for the final time, where Madeleine reveals that the little girl is in fact his daughter. He wishes her farewell, then rides into the sunset for the final time and saves the rest of the world.
For the first time in any of the 007 films, James Bond dies but does so with great honor and in the most heroic fashion possible. Although I do believe this was the most fitting way to end the finale, I was actually quite disappointed. Them killing off a movie character of 27 films since 1963 should have been way more emotional than it was, and I hardly felt the impact of the loss of one of cinema’s greatest heroes. The lack of a score and emotion simply wasn’t enough. We’ve seen heroes’ deaths strike audiences’ hearts from “Terminator,” to “Iron Man,” to Chief Hopper from “Stranger Things,” and I just didn’t feel that way when this movie ended. I had no problem with killing him off, as it fits the Daniel Craig saga of taking chances and challenging the viewers, but I wish Daniel Craig got the true ending he deserved with a better tribute for his hero’s journey.
For the first time, James Bond actually FELT like a movie. I just wish it were more emotional. I also thought it wasn’t long enough. There was just so much more I thought could have been better answered. Two hours and 43 minutes apparently wasn’t enough for me but I still enjoyed it and it was probably the best Bond film I have ever seen. I just thought sending off Daniel Craig with the portrayal as the MI6 hero was underwhelming and was probably the only aspect I didn’t like about the film. Come to think of it, it probably would have been better to just let him live and then give him an even better sendoff.
Take a bow, Daniel Craig, the greatest James Bond ever. I look forward to seeing who the next will be, as the end credits said “James Bond will return.”
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