Over a year and a half after its scheduled March 2020 release, before the world went to pot, the fifth and final instalment in the Craig Bond saga No Time to Die stumbles into cinemas. Tim Ovenden, rampant loather of Bond staples like expensive cars and sickening patriotism, has perhaps been ill-tasked with the role of reviewing a Bond title, but he will nonetheless give it a go.
Bond is back, and he’s looking older than ever. But coming off the back of retiring in the epilogue of Casino Royale… and then again at the beginning of Skyfall… and then again in the finale of Spectre, we can forgive the former 007 for letting his wrinkles show. This time around True Detective season one [go watch] and Beasts of No Nation director Cary Joji Fukunaga has the helm after Danny Boyle quit due to token ‘creative differences’ and it is easy to get bogged down wondering what his version of this movie could have been. Instead, what we get is solid if unremarkable, but with its almost 3-hour runtime, the movie is nothing I can see myself returning to anytime soon.
At one point in time it had looked incredibly unlikely that we would ever see Craig reprise the role again, saying during the Spectre press-run that he would “rather slash his wrists” than return. “If I did another Bond movie, it would be only for the money.” Whether the pay check had enough zeros or Craig felt compelled to end his tenure on a high, I for one am glad to see Daniel Craig given a proper swan song and this feels like a fitting send off for his version of Bond.
less chemistry than Bond does with Vesper Lynd’s gravestone
The Craig era has been riding on the high of the masterful Casino Royale for over 15 years now, offering up diminishing returns with each passing entry; No Time to Die suffers from having to play damage control from the previous film. Spectre tried to fool us into believing Lea Seydoux’s Madeleine Swann is the love of his life – despite the pair having less chemistry than Bond does with Vesper Lynd’s gravestone – and the less said about the Austin Powers style evil-twin-Brother Blofeld twist, the better. Unlike the 360-degree spins in the Aston Martin, we again aren’t left dizzy with their perfume ad romance here and this movie’s facially scarred villain of the week ‘Safin’ (Rami Malek) isn’t much cop either.
Ben Whishaw’s Q continues to be adorably lovable and Ana De Armas almost steals the show
Safin’s underdeveloped motivation is just enough to keep the plot going and maintain Craig as the striving centre of the film. His Machiavellian plan is distanced just far enough away from a viral global pandemic as to not provide any bum-shifting unease for the audience. Ben Whishaw’s Q continues to be adorably lovable and Ana De Armas almost steals the show, despite her minor tangential appearance feeling like its from an entirely different buddy comedy spy movie – one I would much rather see.
With all the talk of a female Bond, it’s a clever decision to test the waters by pitting Lashana Lynch’s Nomi against Craig for the 007 role. However, I don’t think Lynch or the script did enough to really make this character shine and I would have liked the allegory of a woman taking on the iconic position of Bond developed further. On the plus side, the treatment of women as objects in Bond movies appears to have died with Sean Connery and long may that continue.
Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact.
In-article image courtesy of @007 via @instagram.com. No changes were made to this image.
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