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- BRUISED BUT NOT BEATEN British secret agent James Bond (Daniel Craig) comes out of retirement to stop a madman with a dangerous new weapon, in No Time to Die, the fifth and final film starring Craig as Bond, screening in local theaters.
Cary Joji Fukunaga (Sin Nombre, Jane Eyre, Beasts of No Nation) directs the fifth and final James Bond film starring Daniel Craig. Now retired from active service, Bond is pulled back into the game when his friend and CIA agent Felix Leiter (Jeffery Wright) asks for help. Soon Bond is on the trail of a dangerous new weapon and the man who wields it, Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek). As Bond closes in on his target, his former paramour Madeleine (Léa Seydoux), who he believes betrayed him to Spectre, comes back into this life with a surprising revelation. (163 min.)
Glen As a Bond film goes, this one is pretty formulaic. Arch villain? Check. Hidden lair where the final set piece will occur? Check. High tech gadgets? Check. A lot of beautiful Bond girls? Check, check, check. However, this Bond film ups the emotional ante in surprising ways and offers an audacious ending that no other Bond film has ever attempted. It's a fitting closure for Craig's final turn as the super-agent in a five-film run that—for me—rivals Sean Connery's. When Casino Royale (2006) came out, what had become a somewhat tired franchise was reinvigorated and reinvented in a visceral way. Suddenly Bond was vulnerable. He bled when beaten. Craig turned in a whole different kind of character—brasher, more rebellious, and darker. Through Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012), Spectre (2015), and now this long-awaited conclusion, Craig has proven a worthy successor to Connery. The franchise is too popular to come to an end, and there's been talk of casting a Black Bond for years, but in No Time to Die, we get a Black female 007 in Nomi (Lashana Lynch), who after Bond's retirement ended up with his number. Their rivalry is the source of much of the film's humor. It's also worth mentioning Cuban actress Ana de Armas' turn as Paloma, a new CIA agent who Bond briefly teams with in Cuba. She terrific as the newbie with innate talent, and apparently Craig picked her for the role after working with her in Knives Out (2019). At nearly three hours, No Time to Die takes its time reaching its final destination, but the story is populated by amazing action sequences and stunts, a gripping story with lots of moving parts to keep track of, and plenty of effective acting. Me likey!
Anna Craig has managed to give the character his own unique spin—a man who while seemingly indestructible still feels love, loss, and almost continuously is sporting a split lip or a black eye. A lot of the time these over-the-top action films are all fluff and (if you're lucky) fun. Getting a deeper dive into storyline or characters seems mostly secondary, but while this final chapter is formulaic, there's enough meat on the bones of Bond and his relationships, not just with Madeleine but with the man he considers his brother, Felix, and the crew such as Q (Ben Whishaw) and Tanner (Rory Kinnear). There are definitely some laughs to be had, and I love a Bond film that doesn't take itself too seriously but still delivers on the high-action stunts. I'll miss Craig in this role, and while I'm all for a road toward some diversity in this franchise, whoever follows him has some big shoes to fill. Rami Malek pulls off the scarred super villain pretty well, and when we learn there's much more of a backstory between him and Madeleine, it becomes clear that Bond is going to have to do some pretty fancy footwork to save both the girl and the world. It's a long movie, but it's plenty of fun. Grab some popcorn and settle in!
Glen What really sets this film apart is its genuinely moving conclusion. Most Bond films are lighthearted at best and glib at worst, but this story humanizes Bond in significant new ways and is a nod back to Bond falling for Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale. Bond has closed himself off to love, which has always been part of the character's shtick—bedding one woman after another without a care or a thought. But with Vesper and now Madeleine, Bond is made vulnerable. He's let his emotional guard down. Instead of superhuman, he's mortal. I'm going to miss Craig in the role. In my book, he's tied with Connery as the best, but I look forward to seeing who next takes the role. After this five-film run, the franchise is alive and well, and I fully expect many more films to come.
Anna From what I've read, Craig has been ready to retire his Bond for a while now, but no doubt money talks and they got him to reprise the role one more time—which is great news for us! We actually get a conclusion to his story, and as someone who likes resolution in films, I appreciate that. I'm also looking forward to seeing what projects Craig takes on now that his arc as Bond is finished. He's a busy actor, and he has plenty of work—a quick glance at his IMDB page shows many upcoming appearances, including Knives Out 2 and 3, both of which will hopefully be as fun as the first. I was excited to see Christoph Waltz play Bond's villainous foe Blofeld again, even if only briefly. It may not be high art, but you have to admit these films are fun, especially this run featuring Craig. They spent a lot of money making this look awesome on the big screen, so see it there if you want to give yourself the full experience. Just make sure you go to a theater with comfy chairs. This is a long movie, but a fun one all the way through. Δ
Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey and freelancer Anna Starkey write Split Screen. Glen compiles streaming listings. Comment at email@example.com.