After production delays with original director Danny Boyle backing out and release delays due to COVID-19, Bond is back, and the wait has been worth it, even for a solid and entertaining enough entry in this series.
Daniel Craig’s final film in the series does feel fairly interchangeable with his other films (though mostly with the lesser ones, Quantum of Solace and Spectre), but that means it still keeps up the thrills, the impressive action sequences, and the attention to serious character development that Craig’s Bond has been uniquely noted for.
In this plot exposition-heavy film, Bond is once again whisked away from his idyllic vacation in Southern Italy after being confronted by Spectre assassins who want him dead, which he blames on his missus Madeleine (Léa Seydoux). Five years later, Bond is once again whisked out of his idyllic retirement by M16 because Spectre possess a deadly bio weapon that acts as an immediately deadly device, but only towards selected targets.
Masterminding the outbreak of this technological infection is Safin (Rami Malek), who doesn’t have much screen-time to become a Bond villain classic. He’s underused as the villain, and hardly comes across as more menacing than the others Craig’s Bond has had to face. Oddly, it’s Blofeld (Christoph Waltz), the Spectre villain, whose single return scene is more villainous and imposing than not only Malek’s villain, but Blofeld’s entire presence in Spectre.
As for the action, it’s highly explosive and full-on, with a great deal of fights and gun-fire going on, however, there’s little of Bond gadgets, or even general cleverness and improvisational skills, to see – the violence is very loud and assaultive. What does feel new is Madeleine as the Bond girl, if you can even call her that (Ana de Armas’s character appears more like a traditional Bond girl), but Madeline is a more refined character than previous Bond girls rather than merely a helper to Bond (not to say she doesn’t kick ass, even from a young age).
Craig’s first film, Casino Royale, reinvigorated the franchise with a modern feel, making it a worthy peer to the Bourne franchise. But at this point, a 007 film feels less fresh (paling in comparison to the Mission: Impossible and John Wick franchises, whose action scenes and plot progressions are more interesting and engaging), though it still retains a fair amount of that intense grit and high-budget explosiveness. No Time to Die has a lot of the same excitement as the previous Craig Bond films – it’s exciting, but it’s the same.