NO TIME TO DIE (2021)
An unexpectedly emotional send-off for Daniel Craig is highlighted by non-stop action, enlivened performances by Craig, Rami Malek, and Lashana Lynch, and a story that comes satisfyingly full circle.
A “retired” James Bond (Craig) is pulled back into the international fray as a mission to find a kidnapped scientist leads to Bond on the trail of a nefarious villain (Malek) with catastrophic plans. No Time To Die is one of my favorites of Craig’s outings as bond for the way in which it builds upon the previous four films and interweaves a story with emotional depth and redemption, sending this iteration of the character off with impressive grace. Director Cary Joji Fukunaga brings an spectacular vision to an established property that is grounded in visually stunning landscapes, intense action sequences, and scenes that are beautifully composed in an unrivaled manner. While Malek’s performance as the film’s main villain is well-executed, the character is unfortunately underutilized, overshadowed by the brief return of Christoph Waltz’s Blofeld. Similarly, new additions Ana de Armas and Billy Magnussen are solid, yet minimally impactful. Lynch is the new player who steals the show in every scene while returning actors Léa Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, and Ben Whishaw have never been better in their respective roles.
The emotional range of No Time To Die is sure to surprise most Bond fans as 007 is dissected and put back together right up until the final scenes. It has been no secret that Craig will not return to the role, leading the filmmakers to figure out how to best wrap up the story. Perhaps the addition of Phoebe Waller-Bridge as a writer is what allowed the film to overcome the emotional voids of previous outings and find the recipe for a fitting end. Though the story closely resembles Superman Returns in a lot of ways (which I won’t explain at this point so as to avoid major spoilers), it simply works, save for some over-complicated moments and quick developments that have become synonymous with the franchise.
No Time To Die is the most fun I have had with 007 in quite a long time, is a blast from beginning to end, and is well worth the wait.
No Time To Die hits theaters October 8th, 2021.
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