No Time To Die has been a topic of discussion for over a year due to several delays, casting choices and the future of the Bond franchise. The movie was finally released in October 2021. While pouring himself a Heineken, Daniel Craig claims it’s “well worth the wait.” Was it really worth the wait?
The movie is directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga. From his work, I have only seen True Detective season 1. The one-shot sequence in episode four of that series immediately comes to mind. Brilliant as the first season of True Detective was, it had some serious issues with pacing. No Time To Die has similar issues. The directing is great in many parts of the movie, but there is a noticeable slump before the final act.
The movie opens with the introduction of the villain, Lyutsifer Safin, portrayed by Rami Malek. Great scene, but unfortunately we don’t get to see him again until the second half of the movie. It also sets up a central element of the plot, which is Bond’s newfound love Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux). In the opening scene Safin comes face to face with Madeleine and she carries that experience with her for the rest of her life. After going into retirement, Bond is living a life on the run with Madeleine, looking over his shoulder.
The first half of the movie focuses on a subplot involving a familiar villain, Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz). In the second half we finally move on to Safin. The story doesn’t surprise too much and is by far the weakest point of the movie. Safin is set up as a dangerous villain, but doesn’t get enough screen time to be properly intimidating. The writers felt the need to tie up all the loose ends from the previous Bond movies, muddling the plot with unnecessary subplots. The ending of the movie, although somewhat satisfying, only underlines this point.
Aside from the story, I enjoyed two-thirds of the film, the one-third I didn’t like being somewhere in the middle. If you watch the movie, you will know exactly what part I mean. The action is the main reason why many people, including myself, watch 007 movies. The heist in the biological lab was very well executed, the chase in Cuba with Ana de Armas was amazing, the sequence in the forest in Norway kept me on the edge of my seat!
Another great point about the movie was some of the character development. Nomi (Lashana Lynch) is the new 007 after Bond went into retirement. The pressure of being 007 weighs on her and she is constantly trying to prove herself and one-up Bond. The dynamic between Bond and Nomi plays out very well throughout the movie. M. (Ralph Fiennes) is also struggling with the burden of being in-charge. The love-hate relationship between M. and Bond is another treat in the movie. Fiennes puts on a great performance as he always does!
Overall, No Time To Die delivers something familiar, something Bond fans can live with, but it had the potential of being much more. There is no cohesion that keeps the entire movie together. Instead it feels like a compilation of some cool sequences.
A big thank you to Daniel Craig for his performances of James Bond. Casino Royale is without a doubt my favourite Bond movie! Now we just wait and see who will be the next lead in 007 movies…