After six years, “No Time To Die,” the final movie in Daniel Craig’s era of James Bond, has been released. Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, the film clocks in at a lengthy two hours and 43 minutes. If that isn’t something you’re inspired to watch, by all means continue reading. However, if you plan on seeing the movie, maybe skip this one. We have incredibly major spoilers coming up.
The movie opens directly after the previous movie, “Spectre,” with the titular James Bond and his girlfriend Madeleine Swann driving into the Italian hilltop town of Matera. After some brief romance, Bond is attacked by Spectre assassins at the grave of Vesper Lynd, a fling from a previous movie who betrayed him. He returns to Madeleine, ultimately outmaneuvers his would-be assassins, and escapes. However, he becomes suspicious of Madeleine after strange occurrences and leaves her. The scene cuts to an island in Jamaica, five years later. Bond is living in a nice, pricey, high-tech villa on the coast. He is approached by colleague Felix Leiter and his partner for one last mission, which he eventually accepts. Bond and company infiltrate a gala where a lethal bioweapon is supposed to be stored. In the opening ceremony of the night, Bond is targeted once more by Spectre with the bioweapon. However, it ends up killing all of the agents except for Bond. He escapes with his partners, captures the scientist responsible, and takes him to an oil rig for investigation. This reveals that the scientist intentionally coded the weapon to kill Spectre, saving Bond.
Unfortunately, Felix’s partner is revealed to be a traitor, killing Felix, stranding Bond and taking the scientist. Bond is miraculously saved by a passing ocean liner and makes it back to London, where he meets up with the intelligence director and his successor, the new 007. Bond makes the decision to meet with Ernest Stavro Blofeld, the main villain of the series (and the inventor of the cat-petting, swivel chair-owning evil mastermind trope.) After an argument, Bond non-lethally strangles Blofeld. During this, he is unaware that Madeleine infected him with the bioweapon nanobots coded to kill Blofeld. Because of the exposure, Blofeld is killed and Bond is forced to search for his ex-lover, finding her in her childhood home of Norway.
Madeleine reveals that the man behind the attacks and killings is named Lyutsifer Safin, who has targeted Madeleine and her associates ever since her father killed Safin’s whole family. With the reveal of a child as well, Bond is pressed harder than ever to find the murderer and bring him to justice (read: death). In pursuit of Safin, Bond kills some thugs and the man who betrayed him and Felix. However, Madeleine and her daughter, Mathilde, are captured and brought to Safin’s secret island base, where Safin is mass-producing the nanobots to kill millions. After a brief investigation, Bond and the new 007, Nomi, infiltrate the island, shut down production of the nanobots, and eventually enter a final standoff as missiles from British ships fire upon the island.
While trying to open the defenses on the island, Bond enters fisticuffs with Safin, who shoots him twice and scrapes him with a canister of nanobots. Dying, Safin dramatically reveals that Bond is now permanently infected with nanobots that have the capacity to kill Madeleine and her daughter. With no will to escape, Bond calls Madeleine, tells her he loves her, and stands on top of a guard tower as missiles obliterate the entire island, and him along with it. After a brief memorial scene, the movie cuts to credits.
First, I’m just going to say what needs to be said. Lyutsifer Safin’s character was completely wasted. This is a character who is permanently scarred, emotionally and physically, from his entire family being poisoned in front of his eyes. The man builds and maintains an entire island of death robots, has one scene where he explains his poison garden, then dies. He was built up to be an even bigger threat than the man who literally controlled a network of worldwide assassins, and then was defeated immediately. It’s basically bullying at that point.
My second-biggest gripe was that the movie was pretty shallow- even though you could enjoy the action and special effects, you left the theater feeling a little unsatisfied about the whole thing. Like every spy or action movie, the marketing tries to build up the villain as the biggest, the baddest, the greatest threat to the heroes yet. But there comes a point at which the audience simply does not enjoy that any more, and I think No Time to Die tipped over ever so slightly.
Although I felt this way about the main driving force of the story, I cannot say the same about the other aspects of the film. The cinematography was stellar and the casting was great. If you took a hundred people into the theatre, not many would complain about the film outside of the story itself.
Overall, this movie had its peaks and pitfalls, like every movie out there. It’s not a perfect, Oscar-winning film, but it’s a thrilling conclusion to a long-running movie series. Both James Bond fans and new entrants alike can enjoy the film, though drawn out it may be. Sit back, relax, and watch 007 take the spotlight one last time.