No Time to Die

No Time to Die ★★★★

"It's just a number."

For decades the name Bond has been synonymous with the number 007 and vice versa, either one serving to perfectly identify the famed spy in his many iterations. Now here, at the end of Daniel Craig's five film run as the character, "No Time to Die" delightfully engages with the question of whether or not that has to be the case. Thankfully it does so smoothly, while more thoughtfully considering one of the very words in its title - time. There's never enough is there? What does it look like for a man like Bond to want more of it? And is that even a possibility?

Perhaps ironically, this entry clocks in as the longest James Bond film ever at nearly two hours and forty-five minutes. I didn't notice, to be honest, and was so visually captivated by the every frame a painting beauty of Linus Sandgren's cinematography and the enthralling, emotional unwinding conclusion to this Bond's story that I could have easily sat through even longer. Everyone was doing great work but some characters come and go far too quickly, chief among them Ana de Armas who absolutely owns the screen in her 10-15 minutes and has me ready to launch a petition for a spin-off immediately. Lashana Lynch stands out, as well, holding her own and proving that she'd be great in an expanded role of this type. But old friends and enemies also play smaller parts as this film has a bigger story to finish, and since they are taking the care to do that, I didn't mind.

The best thing about "No Time to Die" is that it solidifies Daniel Craig's run as the best James Bond ever, not only because of the technical brilliance but due to his character having a complete and extremely personal arc over the course of his films. It's a wonderful thing and hopefully a playbook that will be followed for whatever comes next in the character's future. I also loved, of course, the tech. Car chases, shootouts, unique spy vehicles, gadgets - it's all here just as it should be. The script is quite excellent, too, balancing near perfectly the serious dramatic threat MI6 faces with just the right dose of nostalgic humor we love about the series. Unfortunately, while I liked the narrative around the villain and his plan, I do think the character himself was a little underwhelming and though his personal vengeance made perfect sense his broader plan was lacking in development.

So while I can't quite say this is the most re-watchable or best overall Bond film, I do think that in context as the final chapter of a five-picture arc, it's just almost as good as could be hoped for, has the best Craig performance as Bond yet, and goes far above just satisfying by rewarding viewers for the long wait to see this properly on a big screen in a crowded room.

2021 Awards Cycle Ranked

Ranked: James Bond

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Discussed in-depth on Episode 294 of the Feelin' Film Podcast

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