“So You’re Not Dead?”Ben Whishaw, No Time to Die.
Release Date: October 8th, 2021 | Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Read at your own risk because there might be spoilers for other Bond movies.
No Time to Die starts with a retired James Bond taking his newest love interest to Italy in order to have a relaxing vacation. Only, as their time comes to an end, Bond realizes that he still has powerful enemies whose only goal is to see him dead. After making a sacrifice that destroys his happiness, Bond lives a peaceful life until he gets word that there is someone who has kidnapped a scientist. As Bond investigates, he realizes that there is more to this than he could’ve ever guessed, including new, violent technologies, an unexpected connection and a reunion with a foe.
If I’m being completely honest, I don’t know much about James Bond and the history of the franchise. I have a vague memory of watching Skyfall when it was released on DVD back in 2012 and I can sing the lyrics of Adele’s Skyfall without fail but when it comes to the plot of that movie, I couldn’t tell you who was who or even that Daniel Craig was in the movie. Now, being almost a decade older, I can tell you the plot of this movie but I wouldn’t be the person to hunt for easter eggs with. Starting off with the plot, there were many great moments that brought the film forward and made me feel as though I was truly watching a phenomenal movie but there were other moments that made me feel like the writers didn’t quite know how to give Bond a great send-off. I also found that the script really short changed its female characters. The new 007 is this incredible, strong woman who could give James Bond a run for his money, yet she was relegated to the sidelines despite her obvious skill in her field. Bond’s love interest – whose name I can’t remember – was so underwhelming and the fact that the script went to such lengths to make sure that she was somehow connected to everything as well as making sure that she and Bond found their way back to each other before his tragic ending.
The acting was fine. I have to agree that Daniel Craig acted his ass off but I feel like his character was mostly reacting to the ongoings around him rather than concretely making his own choices. That relates more to the script but I found that this method of acting didn’t work well for Craig but you could tell that he was all for giving Bond a fantastic send-off. Everyone else was fine. The whole air about this movie was let’s act like we’re trying hard but not really try anything remarkable. Rami Malek as a villain was not the most foreboding Bond villain and felt a bit boring as a character. He’s hardly in the film for the most part but the scenes he is in don’t feel like they have his usual commanding presence. The best part about Rami Malek is that he has a subtly intense presence but in this movie, his presence is overshadowed by the fact that his villain isn’t written well.
The ending of the movie was fitting for the metaphorical death of this version of James Bond, but it felt cruel. From my understanding of the James Bond franchise, the audience was never meant to truly know the James Bond character, instead, it was understood that James Bond was a super spy who loved danger and never had a steady woman. This version of James Bond was the first one that the audience really got to know and it felt cruel to kill off this vulnerable Bond. Daniel Craig gave the last scene his all and it was heartbreaking but it felt like a cop-out. The audience knows that Bond will return and maybe there will be some kind half-hearted but totally predictable joke about his face looking different. Killing Bond while he had a family that the audience will likely never see again felt like it built up a lot of character development only to throw it out the window.
I will admit that knowing absolutely nothing about the franchise before this movie didn’t really benefit me. I felt like I was reading a book backwards and I almost feel like being lost in this movie didn’t really do it any benefit in my mind. As an action movie, it definitely did not lack, but as a movie that wanted a heartfelt goodbye to a character we knew a little bit more than nothing about, I prefer Endgame as a proper send off any day. In the future, I will probably watch more of these movies and my opinion about this one may change but for now, it feels like a wasted attempt of something that could’ve been great.