It is well known that James Bond is one of the longest surviving franchises in the world. Who doesn't love a womanizing British spy full of gadgets that defeats evil. I mean that is how the franchise was for several years until the reboot of 2006 with Casino Royale where Daniel Craig debuted a gritty, dark James Bond in a film that divided fans of the franchise. Now, after 15 years, Daniel Craig has become for many their favorite interpretation of the character because of his grittiness and vulnerability but also due to his ability to be witty while being ice cold.
Now, after five movies, it is time to say goodbye to Daniel Craig's interpretation in 007's newest adventure in No Time to Die. This movie was supposed to release a long time ago but due to the pandemic, 007 had to spend some more time in the marketing department, trying to keep the hype up to the standards. Thankfully, the choice of getting Billie Eilish to do the original track of the movie, attracted several hundred of wannabe edgy girls (Oh I'm just joking) to keep the box office performance afloat. Nevertheless, I gotta admit. It is one impressive song. And combined with the animated intro, I must admit, it was astounding. Unfortunately, there's no video since the movie is still new. So just enjoy Billie for the time being.
An action packed goodbye
Let us not kid ourselves. There are a lot of reasons to watch the Bond films. Maybe you just fancy Daniel Craig. Maybe you enjoy watching the Bond girls. Hell, you may even enjoy the well-casted supporting characters. But there is one ultimatum on why we all choose to watch these films. And that is, the action.
I am content to announce you that this movie is freaking packed with action. From the beginning of the movie until the last second, I would say that an action scene occurs almost every 15-20 minutes (if it is not exactly that amount, do not sue me). And Jesus Christ, Daniel Craig shines once again in beating up and shooting people while looking damn good , while he simultaneously throws around some witty jokes.
There was two particular action scenes that impressed me the most. I want to apologise in advance for simping. But first of all Ana de Armas. Jesus Christ.
Did you know that this was not the time these two actors have been together on screen? This girl, is the same actress that portrays Marta from Knives Out.
I mean.. If you told me this was the same girl that played Marta from Knives Out, I would laugh straight at your face. Anyway, getting off topic. The action scene where Bond works with Ana is vintage 007in my opinion since the teamwork, the kills and the well choreographed hand-to-hand combat scenes are some of the best in the series which were enhanced with the over-the-top chemistry between the characters. Paloma feels like how a modern day Bond girl should be: attractive as hell (sue me cancel culture), sexy (again, sue me for finding a female sexy), badass, smart,innocent looking but deadly. It was a shame we saw this character just for a short period of time.
Anyway, back to the action. No time to Simp. In the span of minutes, we see something that I rather enjoy in most action movies. The action moves in a correct and controlled manner. What do I mean by this? The action does not stay in a single location, but it does not escalate in a level that would go full Fast and the Furious. This adds a fresh air of believability in a movie about handsome British spies and girls fighting in high-heels.
The second one is a classic one. I admit it. I am a sucker for long one-shot (or looking like a one shot) scenes. I just love not having to constantly cut for the action. And No time to die has a perfect example of executing one-shot action scenes beautifully. The scene takes place towards the last act of the movie so I will not talk about it that much since we want this clean of spoilers. However, I do not need to say a lot, it's brutal, it's badass and it just keeps going and going.
No time to make a Bond story personal
Okay, so, while the action is fun and all, I have one big complaint from the movie. The story does not feel personal. By knowing that this movie is the final installment of Craig's Bond, I think that a more personal approach to the story would be a better approach to conclude his story. What do I mean?
I will try and explain this as good as I can without giving out any pieces of the story.
It just feels like Bond is caught up in all this
The point of a final movie is to give closure to a character or the actor who portrays the said character. Take Logan for example. It is a clear and perfect example of how to end a character's legacy while honoring the actor as well. The story was made specifically for the character and he is the central point of attention in the narrative.
However, this does not feel the same in No time to die. Bond is written like he is part of someone else's story and like the whole thing is something bigger than him. Which is by no means wrong if it is not the final film of that damn character. Just hear me out; cut out all the previous movies and it is just a generic guy saves people situation. Which again. It is not bad. However, it is the last movie of the damn actor. Show some more emotion. Show something personal to the character. We care about him. Not his girlfriend's fucked up past for god's sakes.
While all of this can be bad, I need to address something, the vulnerability that made Craig's Bond a fan favourite, shines in this film. We see the character of James Bond like never before. It is the most human-like behaviour we can extract from a guy with a license to kill. Seeing a man who bodied around 100 people each movie showing such emotional depth is hard to believe but it is damn enjoyable. Thank you Daniel for this wonderful performance.
Martini. Woke, not forced.
Aaaand ofcourse here we go. I usually avoid talking about shit like this in my blogs cause I think that it is not worth it. But I cannot avoid this. James Bond in his last movie of this current interpretation, he is made to look as a joke in some instances to push the new appointed 007. I do not care that she is black or that she is a woman. Props to her and props to whoever decided this. I could not care. I could not give less of a fuck if the new 007 was an alcoholic obese diabetic. But the thing is, you do not treat Bond like that for character development. Imagine if Wolverine in Logan got beat by a random character that appeared in his final movie. You would hate it right? Yeap, I would too. Being threatened to have a bullet in his knee and being approached by a fast car while being left stranded? Pathetic if you ask me. This is all I am going to talk about this certain issue. May be me just being insecure. Who fucking cares anymore.
At least we got a black 007, that is some actual progress to be honest. And damn if Lashana Lynch doesn't look good in the 007 swagger. She was by no means as bad as she was shown in the trailers. Instead, she is actually a badass and is respectful to Bond (with the necessary English banter because you know, British people). I would watch a spinoff (again, spinoff, not her taking up the role of James Bond) with her and kicking some ass. Maybe she can be a step into the right direction towards creating new interesting female characters instead of replacing male ones.
Finally, we have the biggest issue in the whole movie in my opinion. The wasted villains.
In No Time To Die we see Bond's adopted brother Blofield (Christoph Waltz) make an appearance. However, the main villain of this movie was supposedly Rami Malek's Lyutsifer Safin. I absolutely adore Rami Malek. From his light appearances in Night of the museum, to Mr Robot and Bohemian Rhapsody this guy just stole the show. Even his freaking Twillight appearances were actually decent ( yeah, I watched some of these movies. Don't ask).
Anyway,you can see that I was pretty hyped for the appearance of a new mysterious masked villain. However, I believe Rami's skills and his villain were pretty wasted. I mean beside his initial introduction in the first scene of the movie, he basically disappears for a big portion of the movie and then suddenly reappears, but not in the "holy shit I was waiting for this cool ass villain to make an appearance again". More like in a "oh shit, I forgot he was in the movie" way. That is because we have no clear motivation and no personal connection to Bond. How the hell are you going to include a villain that has absolutely no connection to Bond for the final movie for God's sakes? Anyway, again, Malek portrays a mentally unstable character (shocking. That is like the third time after Mr Robot, Until Dawn and Buster's Mal Heart). However, there's no good philosophy behind this crazyness. No actual reason beside the fact that you know, this guy hates this other dude for apparent reasons. It is a shame they could not flesh this character out because you could see the potential. But just that. Nothing more. The character seemed like an evil bland hippy with daddy issues in my opinion. Maybe it's just me. Tell me what you thought about this villain.
At the end of the day, No Time to Die is a good Bond film. But the thing is, when you announce that this will be the actor's final installment of the franchise, you cannot set your expectations right. You expect something special, a badass farewell to a badass character. However, in my opinion, you do not see that. You see a good spy movie that sets its scope in the future, without actually caring about the elephant in the room, which is the Bond's departure. Bond is accidentally entangled in this whole thing and he just does what he does best, which is save the entire world once again. Good, but not enough.
In addition, the villains were both wasted, something that allowed two of the biggest names in the industry to look like C-villains in a 24 episode TV show in CBS. You do not do Waltz and Malek like that. Shame to you.
However, it is not all bad. Daniel Craig's performance and witty jokes along with Lashana Lynch and Paloma add something special to the film. The action is pretty much up to standards (or even exceeds them to be honest) which is the saving grace of this film. However, it is not enough to make it a satisfying conclusion to this Bond's legacy. Also, we must point out that the hype revolved around this film was enhanced by the announcement of Craig's departure and the delays due to the pandemic. Maybe these two played a major role towards my disappointment. Only time will tell. Maybe if this blog survives in 10 years (or I do), I will revisit and check on the nostalgia of this film.