The Stream: Too long with too little screen time for Ana de Armas
The Big Screen: Daniel Craig is as cool as ever as Bond
The Final Bill: A good enough send off for the Daniel Craig era of Bond.– Trip Fontaine
Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Writers: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Cary Joji Fukunaga, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Stars: Daniel Craig, Léa Seydoux, Rami Malek
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Runtime: 2 hours 37 minutes
Platform: MGM, Universal Pictures, Eon Productions
Notable Trailers: Spencer, Moonfall, King Richard, The 355, Licorice Pizza, House of Gucci
What’s up, Streamers! We’ve been waiting for 2 years and it’s finally here. Yes, it’s the newest James Bond movie, No Time To Die. Maybe you’ve heard that it’s the last installment of the franchise with Daniel Craig as Bond, James Bond? Of course, I was there on opening weekend because Craig has been an awesome Bond and really energized the James Bond brand. Here’s whether the 2-year wait was worth it.
Do I have to give you a plot synopsis? TBH, before Daniel Craig became Bond, I never cared for these movies because the plot is meaningless. What happens in No Time To Die? What always happens in James Bond movies: running, fights, guns, girls, cars, explosions, rinse and repeat. What matters is how stylish and thrilling these set pieces are and how cool James Bond is through it all.
Actually, the plot of No Time To Die is one of my peeves about this movie. The Daniel Craig James Bond movies have been pretty serialized so having some knowledge about the previous installments may be useful. Characters and plot points from Casino Royale to Spectre are referenced here. I don’t remember the plot details from those previous movies because these movies aren’t about plot! Whatever. Nevertheless, here, James Bond has been in retirement, living married life, until his past blasts him back into action. Hijinks and action ensue.
Cary Joji Fukunaga does a great job directing the action of No Time To Die. There are some good sequences, particularly one that features the luminous Ana de Armas, in a Knives Out reunion with Craig. She’s great in this sequence as an eager, novice agent. She kicks major butt and has an easy chemistry with Daniel Craig. The problem with Fukunaga’s direction has to be that the film is not edited well. There’s so much going on plot-wise, action-wise, and emotionally – too many extraneous characters that it comes off as unfocused and a bit like they threw in everything but the kitchen sink. If you really love Bond, then you may not mind the 2 hour 37 minute runtime, but I and my heavy eyelids did feel it .
On the upside, Daniel Craig gave this one his all. He has James Bond in his bones and he oozes that cool charm that the character is known for. Craig also gets to play other emotions than just stoic machismo. He has some tender moments with Lea Seydoux, even if I don’t totally believe their relationship, but he’s especially good with his old friend, Felix, played by Jeffrey Wright and the aforementioned new associate played by Ana de Armas. What you came for was Craig’s last Bond film and he delivers the goods.
Ultimately, you know what you’re getting from a James Bond movie. No Time To Die is no different than its predecessors. It is not the best James Bond film you’ll see, but it is far from the worst. The plot does not justify the overlong runtime, but the movie otherwise hits its mark as expected. Also, Daniel Craig has done such a great job updating James Bond for the 21st century that it will be interesting to see where the character goes next. I’d suggest a matinee viewing with a good bowl of popcorn.