Ugh! No Time To Die wouldn’t be a Bond film if it didn’t have an overly complicated plot. Look, Bond has to ultimately destroy the virus and end Safin’s nefarious scheme of world dominance. He also must reconcile with the MI-6 gang, confront M about the secret project, and deal with his replacement. Then there’s the reunion with Madeleine and her “surprise.” Finally, of course, there’s Blofeld (Christoph Waltz), who reenters the picture.
Two things: first, the film, like any good Bond film, it’s right on par with the action, stunts, and international intrigue we associate with the franchise. The car chases are so fantastic that they’re the best part of the film. The fighting is good, and de Armas is sexy as hell kicking Spectre a*s in a low-cut evening gown and heels (some things never change).
“…right on par with the action, stunts, and international intrigue we associate with the franchise.”
As grounded as Craig’s Bond is, No Time To Die is the return of what I loved about the over-the-top megalomaniac villain story. A View To A Kill is my favorite, and No Time to Die is right there with it (I’ve probably lost all credibility with this statement). Malik as Lyutsifer Safin is a lower-key version of Christopher Walken’s Max Zorin. He’s psychotic, has an evil plan that will kill millions, and uses Madeleine’s conflicted feelings for Bond against her. Screenwriters Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Fukunaga succeed at telling a James Bond story so much better than anyone involved in Spectre could hope.
I can’t say much, but yes, this is definitely Craig’s last stint as 007, and it falls into so many “last” tropes. No spoilers, but some characters die. At the same time, homages to Craig’s run are reasonably minimal and never distract from the plot. There’s also a little bit of legacy management with the existence of the new 007 and a big secret, carrying on Craig’s work. But also, it could all end here, giving the franchise a chance to reboot itself again.
Then there’s the ending. It’s heavy, emotional, and attempts to extract several gallons of tears from your face, but I’m just not sure it worked. The emotions play out well, but it’s so obvious and quickly becomes a sappy “here we go” moment when it happens. That said, No Time To Die tells a fantastic Bond story. It has everything you expect from Bond and appropriately honors Daniel Craig for his service to the Queen.
"…appropriately honors Daniel Craig for his service..."