James Bond has left active service. His peace is short-lived when Felix Leiter, an old friend from the CIA, turns up asking for help, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.
Daniel Craig’s 5th and final Bond movie finally arrives in cinemas almost 18 months after originally intended and I’m delighted to say it was well worth the wait. This is a magnificent finale to Daniel Craig’s version of Bond, a perfect capper to a performer who will be remembered as one of the very best James Bond’s we’ve had. ‘No Time to Die’ is a movie that builds on the legacy that this series has built up over the past 15 years, bringing everything together into a final film that is breathtaking, thrilling and perhaps surprisingly for a Bond movie, emotionally engaging. ‘Casino Royale’ is widely regarded as the finest of Craig’s entries, but on initial impressions, I think ‘No Time to Die’ might have just topped it.
So let’s start with the plot. The movie begins with Bond in retirement (as much as Bond can be!), enjoying his time in Italy with Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux), the love interest who he met in the series previous entry ‘Spectre’. After an assassination attempt fails, Bond finds himself drawn back into the espionage business on account of a tip from his old CIA friend Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright). This takes Bond to Cuba, Norway and back to the UK amongst others as we start to discover that a new player, Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek), has managed to get his hands on a dangerous new bioweapon. ‘No Time to Die’ uses pretty much every recurring character and every little element from previous movies and these well established relationships with Bond help to deliver some of the emotional heft that makes this particular movie really standout.
The casting is superb for the new characters, with Lashana Lynch really enjoyable as the ‘new’ 007 and Billy Magnussen great as a smarmy CIA colleague of Felix. Rami Malek won’t go down as one of the greatest ever Bond villains but I thought he played the part well with fairly limited screentime for the primary villain. You can usually rely on Bond to showcase state of the art action sequences and ‘No Time to Die’ doesn’t let you down in this regard, with some exhilarating stunts and close escapes, but this is only window dressing if the script doesn’t deliver, and it does in absolute spades. I felt the tone was spot on and for a film that’s closing on 3 hours it never dragged for me.
I was blown away by ‘No Time to Die’ and it’s the Bond movie that’s grabbed me most since ‘Casino Royale’, if not further back. It works on many different levels and it is a fitting capper to Daniel Craig’s tenure – his replacement, whoever that may be, will have massive shoes to fill.
Directed By: Cary Fukunaga
Starring: Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Rami Malek, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Lashana Lynch, Jeffrey Wright, Billy Magnussen, Ana de Armas, David Dencik, Rory Kinnear, Dali Benssalah, Lisa-Dorah Sonnet and Christoph Waltz