Coming out this week in cinemas (finally) is Daniel Craig’s final outing as the legendary superspy James Bond. Is it the swansong he deserves or is there just too much in this film for it to focus on its iconic hero? No Time To Die is a jam-packed film. Bond has to deal with Spectre once more, relationship woes with Madeline and on the horizon is a far stranger antagonistic force. It is seemingly a straightforward adventure but it also has some extremely convoluted moments within it.
No Time To Die, yet so much time to faff
No Time To Die is a long film. It clocks in at 163 minutes and I think that 30 minutes of this film could easily be shaved off because during the second act nothing particularly interesting happens. This is a shame because the story is quite interesting. Many hens have come home to roost in this story and they don’t just have to do with Bond. Madeline has a part to play and Léa Seydoux plays her character with far more confidence in this film. She’s brilliant as this woman who has learned to survive her entire life in this dangerous world she lives in. It is their story and relationship that makes up the bulk of the tension in the film and I found it quite compelling.
Then, of course, there is the usual spy stuff involving the possible end of the world as we know it and if I’m being honest that was okay. It was the relationships and the people behind them that most intrigued me in No Time To Die. Craig’s era will always be one of worldbuilding and seeing all these characters that we’ve come to know over this tenure of 15 years is brilliant. Wishaw’s Q as always is charming, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny is also a delight to see back, along with Ralph Fiennes’ M, Jeffrey Wright’s Felix Leiter and Rory Kinnear’s Tanner. These are characters I have grown to adore.
Live and let these characters have more screentime
Unfortunately, the new characters are less than capable. It’s not that there is anything wrong with the new Bond baddie Lyutsifer Safin played by Rami Malek, he’s actually brilliantly unnerving. It’s the fact that like the new 007 Lashana Lynch and new Bond girl Paloma, played Ana De Arma, he doesn’t do that much.
Each of these characters has the same problem. They’re underutilized. Safin isn’t in the film nearly enough even though Malek is giving it his all. Nomi is given nothing in the way of a standout scene, this is her first outing as 007 show the audience why she now has that title. And then worst of all, you have Paloma. She is in 1 scene in the film and it is spectacular and then she’s gone. There is so much wasted potential here and it irked me for the rest of the film.
Nitpick another day
Ultimately though I loved this film, warts and all. It’s a beautiful looking film, the locations are stunning. The film opens strong with an action-packed battle in Italy and is bookended with another strong action setpiece at the end on an island in true Bond fashion. Aesthetically the film is brilliant and the score is just epic, in no small part to the presence of the man himself Hans Zimmer.
I come away from No Time To Die reflecting on Daniel Craig’s Bond era as one of experimentation and though the results have varied drastically from film to film I think No Time To Die is an almost perfect swansong for this Bond.
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