No Time To Die is the latest James Bond film to hit the big screen. Daniel Craig makes his last appearance as 007, and it is overall an impressive exit. Cary Joji Fukunaga directs this installment and also co-wrote the screen play alongside Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. The cast also includes Naomie Harris, Rami Malek, Ralph Fiennes, Lea Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, and Christoph Waltz. Jeffrey Wright returns as CIA operative Felix Leiter. Ana de Armas also makes a brief but captivating appearance as another CIA operative who provides some much needed assistance to the retired MI6 agent. Anyway, there is quite a mixture of old and new faces to see Craig off. Oh yes, Ben Whishaw returns as Q. I think that covers much of the significant cast and crew.
The film starts off with a flashback in which Bond’s girlfriend, Madeleine Swann, recalls the murder of her mother. She is then rescued by the killer, who is to be the main villain, Lyutsifer Safin, played by Malek, James Bond has been retired by MI6 for some time. He is spending time with Madeleine in Italy when he is unexpectedly attacked while visiting the grave of a former love. Bond escapes that attempt but severs his relationship with Madeleine after he suspects that she led his would-be killers to their next. It is a few years later when Bond has retired to Jamaica and is contacted by Felix Leiter who asks for his help in locating a kidnapped scientist who has developed a dangerous bioweapon. Bond is then in the midst of SPECTRE, an old adversary, however the members of that organization are wiped out by another nemesis. Bond returns to MI6 and finds another agent played by Lynch with his old designation. It’s just a number, right? He also finds himself reunited with Madeleine, who now has a daughter. There are plenty of gunfights, explosions, and chases that lead Bond back to familiar dangers and to new revelations.
First of all, Daniel Craig delivers a compelling performance as expected. The cast is actually well selected. Ana de Armas was a rather unexpected treat in her limited screen time. I even got to like Lashana as Agent 007, Nomi. Nomi makes a really poignant gesture of respect to Bond during the film that was just too cool. The film work was spectacular. There was plenty of just great scenery and background. There was quite a bit of enjoyment to be found in this one. Daniel Craig flat out did great as James Bond through all of his era. Some people preferred the lighter, more humorous touch of the previous actors, but I appreciate the darker sides of the character being brought out. I have read most of the original Ian Fleming novels, and Bond was not presented as quite so flippant as the screen version has come across over the years.
This film is not without its flaws unfortunately. Malek’s role seemed to be a little unclear as to the purpose of his villainous deeds. Not all of the threads dangling from the recent previous films tied together so easily. There were times that some of the action sequences took on a video game aspect that was hard to buy into. Also, there was quite a shocking game changer at the end that I am not that sure was necessary. I will leave that vague out f respect for anyone who may come across this blog before seeing the movie. It’s a long shot, I know.
The film is going to be somewhat polarizing among the fans more than likely, but I would still recommend that it be seen in spite of some of my curmudgeonly views. Craig still does a great job. There is a lot to still enjoy about this film, and hopefully the producers will keep the franchise and the character recognizable because the one spoiler I will reveal is that “James Bond will return”.