James Bond: No time to die - Spoiler Review
The long awaited Bond sequel is finally here! Does it live up to Daniel Craig's previous films? Or is No Time to Die, not worth your time? Well dear reader, I am a massive James Bond fan, so I know what makes a good Bond film, and a bad one. I will be spoiling parts of the film, as I like to be as detailed and constructive as possible. With that said, I hope you enjoy my review. I will be going through the events of this film step by step, while pointing out things I liked and disliked about each scene.
No Time to Die starts off strong, with Safin hunting down this innocent family, who live in a big secluded house in a snowy area, far away from civilization; almost like they are hiding away. This is a very different and refreshing opening to a James Bond movie, as this opening sequence feels more like a horror film, rather than a spy thriller. I actually really like this, as it makes us fear the main villain right from the start, it is also shot from the perceptive of the little girl, who witnesses her mother's brutal murder, by the hands of Safin. The girl then hides away from him, but he soon finds her, then chases her outside, shooting a machine gun at her. The cinematography shows Safin tall and intimidating, as if looking up at him from her point of view, this is very effective and makes for a very thrilling opening. Safin's creepy mask and scarred face really adds to the horror as well.
The next scene shows James Bond (Daniel Craig) with his girlfriend, Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux) in Italy. He has retired and is living the high life with his lover. But, to be honest, this is where my criticisms come in; throughout the film, James Bond rarely acts like the smooth ladies man we know him as, because of this. This ruins the character for me in a lot of ways, as now he just feels like a regular guy, who just so happens to be a spy. However, Daniel Craig is still great in the role and when their holiday is disrupted by Spectre spies, this romantic opening soon turns into an epic chase sequence with Aston Martins, fast motorbikes and lots and lots of guns! Now, this is typical for any James Bond film, but what makes this scene special is that it re-introduces the classic spy gadgets from the previous Bond eras (that have been missing from Daniel Craig's run). For we see that the Aston Martin is bullet proof and not only that, but it also has hidden mini-guns under the head lights. What follows is a really great scene where 007 is destroying everything and everyone in sight, with his over-powered spy car. It's awesome! After this thrilling action scene, we are then presented with the opening credits.
So far, the film has been great and it seems like we are in for a very epic and satisfying Bond film. Unfortunately, I found the first act of this film (after the opening) to feel more like a comedic Marvel or DC film, than a more serious Daniel Craig style Bond flick. The film is obviously trying to go back to the franchise's classic and light-hearted roots. However, this didn't always work, and at times it felt more like a parody akin to Austin Powers or Johnny English. There are moments where the humour is inappropriate for the scene on screen. For example; Felix Leiter (Played by Jeffrey Wright) dies in this movie, he's a long running character who has been in the Craig movies since Casino Royale, so you would expect his death to be tragic and taken seriously, but it isn't. Bond jokes about how he's been shot, Felix jokes about how the ship flooding reminds him of learning how to swim as a child and its just a very goofy and comedic scene, that instantly tries to be serious the moment he actually dies. I think they were going for a “remember the good old days” moment between the two of them, but it just didn't work and it ruined the scene for me (It's not that I don't like comic relief, but there is a time and a place for it and this was not!). Agent Paloma (Ana De Armas) also plays a very inexperienced, clumsy and awkward spy. She keeps making stupid mistakes, forgetting how to do her job and although she was kind of cute, it really just made MI6 look incredibly incompetent by sending in a clueless spy on a very dangerous and serious mission to save the world. Again, this was another scene that felt more like a parody of Bond. There are other scenes in the first act that are like this, but we would be here all day, if I went through them all.
The new 007; Nomi (Lashana Lynch) is also introduced in the first act, and although she wasn't as bad as I thought she would be, I much prefer Miss Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) over her. Moneypenny was very cool and capable in Bond films like Skyfall. She could survive gun fights, be resourceful and was a very competent spy. Unfortunately she is reduced to a cameo role in this entry, so that Nomi can be Bond's sidekick. The ending of No Time to Die leaves the door open for a new spy to take over the 007 title, but I don't think it should be her in my opinion.
Thankfully, the film gets much better in the second and third act. The second act is where the film begins to take itself more seriously, while still having comic relief at the right moments. It is revealed that Madeleine Swann is Blofeld's daughter and Safin saved her at the beginning of the film (the little girl in the opening). This twist is very obvious however, but it still adds a lot of tension to the film. Later; Safin uses Madeleine to trick Bond into killing Blofeld discreetly, by spraying her hand with a virus that targets specific people (Blofeld). She knows that Bond will lose his temper and hit Blofeld during a interrogation scene with the iconic villain, so she puts the virus on his hand by shaking his, it is a somewhat comedic scene where she refuses to shake his hand at first, only for it to have a surprising pay off when Bond hits Blofeld, which leads to the villain dying instantly from the virus! It's a well done and surprising twist, that is only obvious once you look back on it. I really enjoyed this scene and this was the point where I really started to like this movie again. From this point on, I was on the edge of my seat and I couldn't wait to see what was next.
The final act of this film is very epic and action packed. MI6 find the island where Safin is hiding, however he has abducted Madeleine and her daughter, and it is Bond's mission to save them! The stakes are high and Rami Malek really shines as the villain in this satisfying finale. Bond fights his way through the island's forest and secret military base (where Safin is hiding) and the action here is fantastic, with explosions going off, guns blazing and there is also a lot of neat stealth moments too, it ticks all the boxes for a grand James Bond finale. On the way; he takes out a number of Spectre spies (side villains), who we met throughout the film, each section of the island ends with him taking out one of the interesting characters, before his final face off with the main villain, Safin. This lead up is a lot of fun and has some of the best action I've ever seen in a James Bond film, however it does have a lot of fake looking CGI at times.
The final battle with Safin feels very personal. Safin does the cliché “We're not so different you and I” speech we've seen a million times, but their last fight is a quite unique. Instead of using guns, while Bond takes out a million bad guys in a over the top sequence. Instead we get a very slow and intense scene between the two (with no one else around), where they fist fight each other inside a big fountain. It is a very slow paced, gritty and dramatic scene where Bond really struggles to beat up Safin, as the two of them put up a really long and bloody fight. It ends with them both on the ground, exhausted. But during the fight, Safin infected Bond with the same virus Madeleine used on Blofeld, only it doesn't kill Bond, as it targets Madeleine Swann instead, meaning that Bond can never touch his girlfriend again (without killing her). In anger; Bond shoots Safin dead, leaving a chilling reverb from his gun shot as the camera pans away to a shot of Bond standing alone in the fountain. It's very epic and emotional, I liked it a lot.
In another bizarre twist, James Bond actually dies in this entry (yes for real). This is because Q (Ben Whishaw) has already ordered an air strike to blow up the military base Bond is inside of. However, James doesn't have enough time to escape before the bombs drop while he is over looking a sun set in the distance. It's a bittersweet ending however, as he is happy that Madeleine has escaped with her daughter ,who is revealed to actually be Bond's kid. In my opinion, I think this was a mistake, as they have completely changed Bond's character within this film. He was a suave ladies man, who always made it out on top (despite impossible odds), gets the girl and saves the world, only to do it all again in the next adventure. Now he is a family man, who is more vulnerable, feminine and somebody who actually dies, or fails his mission (somewhat). This makes the character less interesting in my opinion and is completely alien to Ian Fleming's original James Bond. This also complicates the Bond timeline because they either have to:
Reboot the franchise again.
Or carry on the timeline with a new 007, who isn't James Bond.
This is bad in my opinion, as I really like the Daniel Craig cast in this era, so I don't want to see them go. But at the same time, continuing James Bond without James Bond, would just be terrible, honestly. They could reboot it with the same cast, but that would only confuse the separate timelines. Can you see why this is a messy idea and decision?
Overall, James Bond: No Time to Die is a very bumpy movie. There is a lot of good, but a little too much bad as well. I did enjoy the film for the most part and the surprising twists (Even Bond's death, if you don't think about the consequence) really made for an exciting film that had a lot of unexpected twists and turns.
I'll give this movie a 7 out 10; a thrilling adventure, with lots of action and surprising twists. But the humour feels forced and due to the long length, it can be very convoluted and confusing to follow.
My name is Joseph Roy Wright. I am the Author of New Order of Alexandria, Paranormal Homicide and The Town Named Bilmo. I am from Runcorn, England and I am 24 years old. A working class man with a taste for adventure! I also write horror.