No Time To Die Review- A Flawed Ending to Craig’s Bond

After the disappointing Die Another Day, arguably the most excessive Bond film to date, the franchise was in a desperate need for a reboot and a new tone. This new approach to the franchise led the studio to seek a more serious, realistic tone. As this new era of Bond went on, I’ve yearned for the perfect balance between these two distinctive tones. Spectre tried its hardest to reach this state, but it just ended up being dull and lifeless. No Time to Die reaches this point, but at the sacrifice of a consistent tone. No Time To Die in one scene goes from bombastic action where Bond delivers a cheesy one liner after the kill to melodramatic exposition. I enjoyed these action scenes as a separate entity, but in the context of the film, it just feels hollow. 

After watching No Time to Die I can without a doubt say that I’ve changed my mind on wanting a campy and serious tone in one movie. With the next iteration of Bond, I hope they fully embrace either tone and not try and hastily adopt both. 

The movie picks up right where Spectre left off, following Bond and Madeleine Swann, a former love interest of Bond and the daughter of Mr. White, on their vacation in Italy. Bond is then ambushed by a gang of assassins from the Spectre organization. In a fit of rage, Bond abandons Madeleine as he believes she sabotaged him. Five years go by, and Bond is now retired in Jamaica. He is tracked down by the CIA in order to stop a deadly bio weapon from entering the wrong hands, thus bringing him out of retirement and setting the plot in motion. 

The plot itself isn’t anything to write home about, it’s your standard stop the villain and save the world/girl that one would expect from your average action movie. One advantage No Time to Die has over other action movies is its technical achievements. The sound design and the look of the movie is top notch and really brings you into it. Daniel Craig goes out with a bang and delivers a solid final performance. Ana De Armas’s performance is fantastic, but it’s so brief that it feels tacked on. A Bond movie is only as good as its villain, and Rami Malek is very whatever. His motivation seemingly switches at random, and his performance doesn’t really stand out. I was really looking forward to his performance, as I loved his previous work on Mr. Robot, but as I was leaving the theater I completely forgot that he was in it. 

The movie itself is also long, very long. Clocking in at a whopping two hours and forty-three minutes, you really start to feel it. For a good chunk in the middle, I was completely disengaged as there was no action and the exposition/dialogue wasn’t badly written, it was just tedious. Luckily, as the movie approaches the end everything gets kicked into high gear and becomes incredibly enjoyable. 

This movie is a fitting end to the Craig era of Bond. Overall, I did enjoy my time with this movie and would recommend it to people previously interested in this iteration of Bond. If you want to get everything out of the movie, I would recommend watching at least Spectre before seeing it. Unfortunately, if you haven’t seen any of Craig’s Bond movies before this, some of the emotional beats don’t hit and you may get lost in the shuffle. On a scale of one to ten, I would rate this a big, massive seven.