After a long journey, we have finally reached the end of Daniel Craig’s journey as James Bond with the release of the new 007 film, No Time To Die. Craig’s tenure as the iconic British spy began in 2006 with Casino Royale, which gave fans a fresh new take on the franchise by going back to basics. In what spanned to five films, audiences got to see Bond evolve as a trained spy. Within 15 years, we got to see an arc that carried over into different installments and it has all lead to this. What we get is an emotional sendoff for Craig as he hangs up his gun for good.
No Time To Die picks up after the events of Spectre, as we see James Bond resuming his romance with psychiatrist Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux) after the capture of Spectre’s leader Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz). However, the evil organization isn’t quite done with the spy as they send in some of their assassins after him when he visits the grave of his lady love Vesper Lynd. After managing to get away from them, Bond and Swann’s relationship comes to an end after he accuses her of working with the enemy. They part ways with Swann heartbroken and Bond vowing never to see her again.
Five years later, we see our spy retired from MI6 and living in isolation from the rest of the world. His old friend Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) pays him a visit and asks him for help in tracking down a scientist who has created the ultimate weapon that can cause catastrophic destruction. This puts Bond back in the spy game, pitting him against his former superiors at MI6, including a new spy, Nomi (Lashana Lynch) who has taken the mantle of the 007 title. Craig also comes into the crosshairs of the devilish Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek), a terrorist who is on a revenge mission and will stop at nothing to achieve his goals. What transpires is a globetrotting trip that pits Bond against everything he stands for as he meets new friends and old ones in what could be his final mission.
Craig still delivers as he puts on his best work as Bond with an emotional grit. We still get the classic Bond with Craig’s delivery, but we also get to see him at his most vulnerable. The actor puts on the charm for one final time as he shows why he is among one of the best to portray the famous spy alongside his peers. His acting reminds the audience why he was chosen to play Bond since Casino Royale, bringing more of his humanity that hasn’t been shown before.
Other than our leading man, the rest of the cast gets their own spotlight on screen. Lashana brings in enough female empowerment playing a new Mi6 agent on the field who goes by the books, who ends up butting heads with Bond on the field. Even Lea gets to show some emotion in some of her scenes as she attempts to connect with Bond despite holding secrets of her own. Perhaps the biggest standout would be Ana de Armas, who holds her own sharing screen time with Craig. Even though she’s only in the film for a section of the film, Armas proves that she has the gravitas to pull off an action scene and be a likable character. Rami Malek tends to be playing more of a standard Bond villain, but you get to see how much damage has been done to his character and how much alike he and Bond are despite being on different sides of the spectrum.
Being the first film to be directed by an American director, Cary Fuji Fukunaga manages to pull off creating an action-packed and emotional story for Craig’s last hurrah as the titular spy. Some of the dialogue also brings in that classic humor that’s a staple of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s screenplay that she worked on with Fukunaga and Bond veterans Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. The action-set pieces are worth seeing on screen with much of the shooting being done with IMAX cameras for the first time in the franchise to make them epic in scale. The landscape shots of Jamaica, Italy, and Norway make the film beautiful to see thanks to the cinematography of Linus Sandgren.
No Time To Die is perhaps one of the greatest entries in the James Bond library thanks to the brilliant direction and an outstanding performance by Craig. Despite the lengthy run-time, the film manages to pack in enough action, humor, and emotion to make this a great feature to see on the big screen. The film should leave audiences satisfied to see Craig embody the famous spy for one final time while also giving us the Bond that we will all remember. It is certainly a perfect way to give Craig his proper farewell to the role that will define his career and the history of the franchise.