No Time to Die

No Time to Die ★★★★

My second-favorite of the Craig-era after SKYFALL. Cary Joji Fukunaga had the Herculean task of putting a capper on Craig’s tenure, his being the first to have a continuous arc through each film, have it pay off emotionally, and have to follow through on the continuity of SPECTRE, some of which was good (the characterizations, emotion, and welcomed humor) and some of it terrible (pretty much anything with Blofeld). It’s a lot to ask and perhaps not every single thing works, but so much more of it works than doesn’t. Bigger Bond fans than I seem to have qualms with the choices in Craig’s films and I’m much more casual so I don’t have a huge dog in this fight, but I really dig the modernization of the character and the psychological push-pull between the urge to kill and wanting to lead a normal life, and it ends in the best way it possibly could have. I like big emotional blockbuster filmmaking, I’m only human. And these films have been behind the curve on blockbuster trends - CASINO and QUANTUM are chasing BOURNE’s tail while SKYFALL through NO TIME TO DIE chase Christopher Nolan - but I think I prefer the Nolan mimicry. Mendes took the somber pop-art template, then took his DP, and now Fukunaga took Zimmer as well as Nolan’s penchant for challenging sound mixes. 

Only real qualms are the runtime (though really moves until the final 30-40) and Rami Malek’s non-entity of a villain, but for all the flak he’s getting, I’ll be fair and say… 

*Looks left*
*Looks right*

*Whispers* … it’s not worse than Waltz’s Blofeld. And if we’re talking diminishing returns on Oscar-winners playing Bond villains, it could have been even worse: we could have gotten Eddie Redmayne.

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