After what may be the most delayed release of all time, “No Time to Die” has hit the silver screen domestically. Daniel Craig’s swan song to the iconic secret agent was delayed almost two years due to a directorial change and the global pandemic.
Ultimately, the tumultuousness behind the scenes is not visible in the final product.
This is Craig’s fifth film playing the British agent James Bond, after starring in 2006’s “Casino Royale,” 2008’s “Quantum of Solace,” 2012’s “Skyfall” and 2015’s “Spectre.”
In my humble opinion, “No Time to Die” is the best of the bunch.
There are a few reasons why I believe that “No Time to Die” shall be remembered as the premiere 007 movie starring Craig.
Starting off, the action scenes are by far the best of the series. While the film doesn’t have the high-flying parkour-esque fighting of “Casino Royale,” director Cary Joji Fukunaga takes advantage of unique locations to create intense, grounded action sequences that are a thrill to watch. In past Bond films, particularly “Quantum of Solace,” the films make use of quick cuts during action sequences. Though such cuts can create a feeling of intensity, they often make it more difficult to decipher the geography of the fight sequences. Fukunaga puts the landscape of the sequences front and center, assuring that they never become confusing to watch. This direction, combined with new gadgets and situations, creates the best fight scenes we have ever seen for Craig’s Bond.
The main reason why this film is the preeminent Bond movie of the last 15 years is its narrative execution. One issue that has plagued the series is pacing. “Spectre,” the previous film in the franchise, has a particularly slow first act. “Casino Royale,” though a fantastic film, does feel a little stop-and-go in its narrative. Luckily, “No Time to Die” has no such problems, even with its almost three-hour runtime. The emotional stakes of this film are also better executed, as the narrative has a more clear connection to Bond himself. If you are a fan of the series, this film pays off 007’s character, with a story that builds off of the previous four films. While it may not satisfy all viewers, I believe this film provides the proper ending to Craig’s Bond.
In terms of flaws, this film certainly has a few. The main issue with “No Time to Die” is the lack of clarity in the villain’s intentions. While Rami Malek does a brilliant job portraying his sinister character, the impeccable character design isn’t enough to overcome its underwritten nature. The plot surrounding the character’s goals is a bit convoluted, making pieces of “No Time to Die” difficult to comprehend. Nonetheless, the core of the film centers on Craig’s character, making this flaw not completely crucial.
Ultimately, because of the well-executed action sequences, the emotional plotline and the fitting end to Craig’s Bond, this film earns a moderately strong recommendation.