Finally! I got to watch the latest James Bond venture, No Time to Die. A movie that most would know was supposed to come out in April of last year, but the pandemic hit and it was ultimately pushed back to 18 months later. It was pushed back an extra month for my hometown Australia, for some stupid reason, and it was so much fun watching everyone in the states and UK reacting to this film throughout October. Anyway I got to see the film on Remembrance Day, a few days prior I refreshed myself on the previous film Spectre, and I was quite shocked that it’s been 6 years since that movie came out. That realisation did make me excited to see a James Bond movie in the cinema again, plus I have never reviewed a James Bond movie on this site before and this is the perfect opportunity to share my love for this series.
So Daniel Craig has returned to play James Bond for one last time since the bosses persuaded him to stick around after intending to make Spectre his final movie. No Time to Die picks up directly after Spectre with James Bond and his beloved Madeline enjoying retirement, which is ultimately cut short when the remnants of Spectre and a new evil come after them. Tragedy, hokey alliances, gun blazing action and Billie Eilish’s opening number ensues. That’s your basic plot and for the most part I really enjoyed it. Basically its a movie made up of cool fun sometimes tense action scenes, which are linked together with quirky or emotional dialogue scenes. It’s also a movie that pretty much requires you to remember what happened in the previous Daniel Craig Bond movies to get the most out of it as you’re essentially watching the closing chapter of this interpretation of Bond’s emotional journey. Kind of wish this series did a better job at executing this, as it’s not just because the 20 previous Bond movies never really cared for continuity, but also Casino Royale and Skyfall never really hinted at a larger work in play either. It’s not until Craig’s 4th movie Spectre that is now insisting that all these movies are connected and you really should have been paying attention to what happened in Casino Royale and Skyfall as they all tie into No Time To Die. (All except for Quantum of Solace of course, because the filmmakers also know don’t want you to remember that movie existed.)
A consistent aspect of the Craig era is the movies look gorgeous and the action is fast paced and engaging, which is true to this movie. Even though the action in each entry seems to be slowly aiming to be as over the top as Mission Impossible. Although the modern Bond movies I do believe standout from other action movies as they often incorporate an awesome score, fantastic camera work, plus the great stunt work and fight choreography in these movies heighten the action scenes. Particular favourite action scenes in this movie would include the opening on the bridge in Italy, the one at a party and the final confrontation at the villain’s lair. The main thing that works for me is the main cast of characters. Daniel Craig continues to excel at playing James Bond, and this movie probably gives us his best performance out of all his Bond movies. The fun banter Bond has with some of the side characters such as Q and Ralph Fiennes’ M were also great. Ana De Armas pulls a Halle Berry from John Wick 3 on us, as she shows up to help out Bond kick some ass, before having to vanish for the rest of the movie, while also chewing the scenery in the process. The other character I enjoyed, was the woman, who’s taken Bond’s 007 status, which when the media first heard of this everyone erupted, to either boycott or praise this movie’s bold decision for a female James Bond. I appreciate she’s not really rubbing it in our face, but rather its used as a device to create an interesting rivalry with Bond and how that develops over the film was great to see.
The only thing that pushed my suit buttons the wrong way were anything to do with the main villains of the movie. Rami Malek has always been a good actor, but I hated his character, because he sucked so badly. He’ll be up there as one of the worst Bond villains as they make a big deal of the mystery of this character and his connections to Madeline, yet they never clearly explain any of it and its very much like that line M says in the trailer that it’s all up in the ether with these people. He’s a horribly written character that boils down to a typical Roger Moore Bond villain of wanting world domination, plus he’s a little weirdo that you’re hoping Bond would just quickly dispatch. Also for most of the movie Blofeld is still the main villain, even though he’s imprisoned and I still can’t get over in Spectre on why Bond randomly went out of character to not shoot this guy. Christoph Waltz is another great actor, but I’ve never been a fan of his interpretation of Blofeld, which is thanks to his role in Spectre, but this movie doesn’t really redeem him in any way. These two villain’s plans are kind of intertwined and its a little messy where one comes and another leaves, perhaps a rewatch can fix that, but I doubt it will improve how I feel about these guys.
This film is just like Eternals where the movies have drawn a very divisive reaction, however I’m in the positive range for this one as well. I thought it was great, No Time to Die offers pretty much what I want from a James Bond movie. It definitely improves over Spectre, as the relationships Bond has with Madeline and even Blofeld are better handled and there were less stupid things that happened in this plot. The dumb stuff in No Time to Die was mainly at the climax, but even that wasn’t enough to ruin the feelings I got out of its ending. No spoilers or anything, but the ending to this film did give me a new outlook of respect for Daniel Craig’s Bond movies. Plus Billie Eilish’s opening song didn’t make me want to stick nails up my ears, unlike the one made for Spectre.
Overall No Time to Die was a very entertaining and surprisingly emotional finale to a series I’ve followed for most of my life. It will be most interesting to see what sort of legacy this film has, but I guess that will be hard to see until another actor takes up the 007 character. That being said this has been The Blog Complainer, signing out.
(Yes I’ve updated my rating pictures, and they’re looking beautiful!)