‘No Time to Die’: A Stunning Conclusion to the Daniel Craig Bond Era

No Time to Die wraps our current Bond era well enough as we say farewell to the films of Daniel Craig.

CREDIT: MGM Studios

It is finally here after several delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We can finally say that we have watched the final Daniel Craig James Bond performance. Of course, I went to the movie theater for this one and watched it on Cinemark’s awesome XD format. I had my large Coke Zero Sugar along with my large popcorn and I sat on a comfy sat as I enjoyed a movie that I had lost investment in. Yes, that is right I had lost interest in this film because of these constant delays. A long time ago during a time called pre pandemic times this movie was on my most anticipated of 2020 film list. Of course, most of the movies found on the list did not release that year but unlike Dune that has held my interest this one did not keep me “hyped” through its multiple delays. I think that it helped that I was not over the roof excited for this film because this was a pleasant surprise.

This 25th installment of the Bond franchise is directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (Sin Nombre, Beasts of No Nation, True Detective) and written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Fukunaga, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag, Killing Eve). The film stars an ensemble cast of Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Léa Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Christoph Waltz, and Ralph Fiennes. Of course, we know that our road to this film has been bumpy. Originally, this film was set to be directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire) from a script written by him and John Hodge then they left in August of 2018 because of creative differences. Production started in 2019 and Fukunaga replaced Boyle but then Daniel Craig was injured. Once production started again then in June of 2019 an explosion happened that damaged a soundstage damaged and left a crew member with minor injuries. Production wrapped in 2019 and then the pandemic hit in 2020 so we had multiple delays of the film until it finally released in the United States on October 8th. Was it worth the wait? I definitely think that it was.

I quite enjoyed No Time to Die from its stunning cinematographer by Linus Sandgren to the performances and story beats. Of course, Hans Zimmer always does a great job and this score is no different. The story is interesting enough to keep yourself locked in, but I felt there could have been edits made to its runtime of 163 minutes. The film does not need to be this long but I understand we want to soak in as much time we can with Daniel Craig’s final performance as James Bond. Seydoux does a great job reprising her character from Spectre and the chemistry with Craig is there through it all. Malek plays an interesting villain that really gets under the skin of Bond. I did not expect them to do as great as a job they did with his villain but I was surprised at how much his character was well developed. The performances from everyone else were good too but it was Lashana Lynch who truly surprised me and left me wanting more from her. I’m crossing my fingers that we get her back in some sort of role in the next films or as our next iteration of Bond. Ana De Armas’ presence is small but enjoyable, I just wish they would have done more with her.

Other than those minor gripes, No Time to Die beautifully wraps up this era of the Bond films. I love how we feel the presence and the unresolved trauma of the past films in this one. It feels like everything from Casino Royale to Spectre served a purpose to make this version of James Bond we see. It was tough to walk out of this one knowing it was Craig’s final Bond performance but the film does it justice. I am eager to see what this new era of Bond films will bring to the table.

Watch No Time to Die in theaters everywhere.