Daniel Craig’s tenure as James Bond has been a rollercoaster ride. When it was announced that Craig was going to be taking on the role, people were skeptical, he certainly fit more of a Jason Bourne type rather than the clean Bond we had got used to and expected of Bond. Any worries were squashed quickly with the release of Casino Royale, the film was a huge critical success and is regularly cited as a fan favourite, reinventing the Bond character for modern audiences with the roughness that fans didn’t even know they originally wanted. Quantum of Solace struggled to live up to the high expectations but that was due to the many problems going behind the scenes, with the biggest being a writers strike in Hollywood. Skyfall is another one cited as being a fan favourite, it went on to break a lot of records (including becoming the highest grossing film ever in the UK, before Star Wars: The Force Awakens over took it), grossing over £100 million in the UK alone, the only Bond to do so and only a landmark only Skyfall and Star Wars have met (Not even Avengers: Endgame). It was then it came out that Craig wanted out stating he would rather slit his wrists than play the character again, and yet he still returned for two more. Spectre did well at the box office, riding of the success of the previous film, despite not doing quite as well with audiences, fans were still loving Craig in the role and wanted as much of that as they can get, and what was rumoured to be the return of a big Bond villian. And now, we are onto No Time to Die, it was so close to coming just before the pandemic hit, being the first big film to shift release dates and get people in audiences, because they know it’s a big money maker and an important film in the British film calendar, that cinemas want the big audiences possible to be able to watch. There are people that will literally only ever go to the cinema to watch Bond, it might be the first big guarantee since cinemas reopened.
No Time to Die picks up where Spectre left off, Bond has retired from his MI5 service, when his retreat is disrupted by some secrets that Madelaine Swann (Lea Seydoux) failed to mention, a familiar face for her rears their head and is intent on getting their hands on a new weapon that would kill people across the world!
I’m a big 007 fan, earlier this year I had binged my way through every Bond film so I can now say I’ve watched them all and have an opinion on them all. No Time to Die was my 4th most anticipated film of the year (3rd if we count that Mission Impossible 7 has moved), the trailers really sold me on the great action and bringing the Craig Bond films to a close. Seemingly tying together even more of the series so far, something which is unique to this era.
So is it worth the long wait we have had for this film? Yeah, its a good film. Is it a good Bond film though? I don’t know. There’s a lot of portions of the film that feel particularly not Bond like at all. The film is a bit of a mish mash of trying to please everyone which doesn’t always work. Sometimes the tone is inconsistent especially with where we started with these films and where it ended up. We have a lot of moments, particularly in this one, where there are more gadgets and we embrace the sillyness and campyness of the earlier bonds, compared with the gritty tone we are used to with the Craig films.
The cast are pretty great across the board. Daniel Craig has been consistently great across the board, and clearly the thought of never getting to play this character which has defined his career, gave him enough motivation to put in a solid performance for once last time. Returning faces Lea Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Christoph Waltz, Naomie Harris and Jeffrey Wright all do a good job, even if the majority of them aside from Lea don’t have as big of a role as you’d like. However, some of the bigger strengths are in the new faces, which is where there is potential for the future of the franchise, away from James Bond. Ana De Armas is one of Hollywood’s most sort after actresses after a strong performance along side Daniel Craig in Knives Out. Her role in this film is very small, being relegated to just having one scene particularly but steals the show, leaving the audiences wanting more, which it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if that’s what we get, you imagine some sort of spin off is on the way after Amazon bought up MGM so now have part of the Bond rights which get very complicated with the Broccoli ownership. Lashana Lynch comes in as a new 00 who definitely is the other option for a spin-off to be in the works, but her character suffers from some clunky writing trying not to upset some fans, when the reward would’ve been greater if they had left those moments out. Rami Malek was fresh off his Oscar win for Bohemian Rhapsody when he got cast as the villain for No Time to Die. Fans were appropriately excited to see what he would bring and he doesn’t disappoint, but is let down, once again, but not enough screen time to expand upon his motivations particularly.
Overall, No Time to Die is a solid entry into the Bond franchise, wrapping up Daniel Craig’s adventure in the role which he has held for 15 years, tying together all 4 of the previous films instead of previous Bond’s where each film was completely separate apart from the odd recurring character. Some clunky writing from what is a mish mash of ideas of what people want in this film, doesn’t always work and feels like they’re trying too hard. There are some great memorable action set pieces which is exactly where the film shines it’s most, not hugely dissimilar from the rest of the series.
It’s unlikely we will get an announcement of the next person who will take on the famous role (My vote is still Rege-Jean Page) for a little while they decide they where they go next with Bond. I think it’s likely we will get an announcement of a Prime Video series or movie first (Please more Ana De Armas and then lean into the CIA side of the universe rather than MI5 to get away with bringing back those other higher billed actors).
What did you think of No Time to Die? and Who would you cast as the next Bond?
I am going to do a little preview of what’s coming out in the next few months, because there’s a lot of big releases coming up to get excited for. That will be posted before the next big release which is Venom in 2 weeks time, so look out for that by following @floodersfilms on Instagram and on Facebook.