No Time to Die

No Time to Die ★★★★

Look, as a newfound fan of this character and this franchise, I can sit here and find nitpicks in this one all day. It takes some bold risks, and some stupid ones. While excellently edited, the huge runtime begins to wear thin by the somewhat bloated third act. And the Marvel-ization of the Bond franchise reaches genuinely grating and annoying levels here (I still love that movie but not every franchise needs its own Endgame, guys. Especially not James Bond.)

But even despite all those nitpicks, what a fucking ride. I had full faith in Cary Fukunaga to deliver a great Bond movie, and boy did he exceed my expectations. His eye for picturesque visuals and complex, humane drama along with genuinely fantastic and well-choreographed action sequences shines through perfectly here, and Linus Sandgren's cinematography is an MVP in equal parts.

Speaking of MVPs, Daniel Craig. He deserves equal credit here along with Fukunaga and co. Even despite his controversial comments in the public about this character, he is effortlessly cool and charming here. His version of Bond has been through more emotional and physical pain than arguably any other iteration, and he switches between that bitterness and that charisma on a dime.

Even in a stellar cast (with the special standouts being Ana de Armas and Lashana Lynch) he's the beating heart and soul of this movie. For my money, he *is* James Bond. The definitive and the one and only. And I'm really gonna miss him in those dashing suits with that weary grin. So even despite my issues with this film, I'm glad they ended this saga on a superbly high note. Take a bow, Fukunaga.

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