Before diving in to No Time to Die, I confess that I’m not a James Bond fan. I’ve seen the Daniel Craig Bond films, but have not journeyed into the rest of the franchise. Apart from Casino Royale and Skyfall, I don’t consider myself a fan.
Each film seems to rinse and repeat the same formula of featuring a flamboyant villain, a desirable woman (or women) kicking ass and or as a love interest, extravagant set pieces, massive action sequences, and exquisite car chases while often doing all of this multiple times within the same film.
The fate of the world is also usually involved, but it’s just the same thing over and over again with someone else in a snazzy suit. Some may enjoy that and that’s fine, but it’s mostly incredibly tiresome and in dire need of a reformatting.
No Time to Die never attempts to hide that it’s the fifth and final time Craig is playing Bond. The film has set on the shelf for over a year thanks to postponements due to COVID with an original release date planned for April 2020 before being moved to November 2020, then April 2021, and finally October 8, 2021.
Bond’s relationship with Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux) takes center stage. After the events in Italy at the beginning of the film, No Time to Die has a five year time jump. James Bond has retired as a special agent and Nomi (Captain Marvel’s Lashana Lynch) is the new 007.
He’s eventually pulled back in due to Spectre still being in the fold and Madeleine’s involvement, while a new villain who has held on to his need for his revenge his entire life intends to use a biological weapon that incorporates nanobots to kill millions and take over the world.
Ana de Armas shows more charisma and enthusiasm than anyone else in the film despite only having around five minutes of screen time. As Paloma, Ana de Armas is memorable, useful, and has a scene where she takes out a bunch of goons.
What’s even more fascinating is that the film goes out of its way to portray Paloma as a woman who has no romantic interest in Bond whatsoever. Nomi has a similar reaction to Bond, but it’s a bit different since she’s basically Bond’s replacement. Ana de Armas appears to actually be having fun in her role in the film while everyone else looks miserable.
The best sequences in the film are the snowy opening with Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek) followed by Bond’s Spectre discovery in Italy and the explosive finale on the island. Maybe it’s because this is the first James Bond film shot with an IMAX camera, but all of the car chases look incredible.
Thinking back to when Michael Bay did the Transformers films where the camera seemed to be zoomed in too close to capture all of the action, No Time to Die gloriously captures every crash, explosion, and 360 degree donut to an exceptional degree.
No Time to Die attempts to correct all of the mistakes that Spectre made. It’s the longest Bond film to date clocking in at 163 minutes, but the problem is it feels like an eternity. Many claim that it’s the most emotional Bond film ever and that may be the case, but the screenplay is so melodramatic, the one-liners are lame, and the storyline is totally boring.
The film spends a lot of time doing the same thing in different exotic locations. Bond travels to Italy, speeds around in a fast car, and almost dies while coming to blows with a guy equipped with a cybernetic eyeball that is constantly popping out of his head. Bond does all of this again and again and again in Cuba, Norway, and the island that’s between Japan and Russia.
The Billie Eilish song as well as the visuals during the opening credits are both dull and forgettable. Bond and Madeleine’s on again off again relationship becomes infuriating because there’s really only one direction the film is going to go with this being Craig’s last outing as Bond.
Once the mask comes off of Safin, Rami Malek is pretty much wasted as the villain of the film. His Poison Ivy like boner for plants and flowers only goes so far as does his desire to always barely speak above a whisper. The film makes you question how many times Bond can be blown up without dying or losing his hearing completely (it happens at least twice in the film).
No Time to Die has some really fantastic cinematography and Ana de Armas is superb for the short amount of time she’s around, but the 25th James Bond film overall is painfully formulaic, predictable, and corny. Emotional sequences seem to be milked and exaggerated while the spy film seems to retread the same ground several times over its nearly three hour duration. A spy film that is this long with this much action shouldn’t be this tedious or this much of a chore to endure.
- Ana de Armas
- Masterful cinematography
- Predictably formulaic
- It's three excruciating hours
- Trite sentimentality