- Without sharing any spoilers, audiences will be shocked by Daniel Craig’s franchise exit.
- Craig gives a great final performance and Ana de Armas is an excellent scene-stealer.
- “No Time to Die” opens in theaters on October 8.
“No Time to Die” marks the 25th movie in the beloved James Bond franchise and in some ways it’s very much a by-the-numbers Daniel Craig-era Bond movie: grounded action, serious tone, and lush photography.
The movie is also very different.
The female characters aren’t just there as eye candy — that’s especially the case with Lashana Lynch’s character Nomi, who is a 00 agent. The movie’s most striking difference is its shocking ending. I won’t reveal it here but it marks the first time that the Bond franchise has done something like this.
When it comes to swan songs for the actors who have played James Bond I still think Roger Moore went out on top with 1985’s “A View to a Kill” (what can I say, I’m an ’80s kid). But if audiences react positively to “No Time to Die,” Daniel Craig may go down as having the best James Bond exit ever.
Director Cary Joji Fukunaga shows early on this won’t be your typical Bond movie
“No Time to Die” opens with an introduction to the movie’s villain, Lyutsifer Safin, which is played with creepy perfection by Rami Malek. Safin is set in a house by a frozen lake in winter, and carries a rifle to Ernst Blofeld’s home (Christoph Waltz), to exact revenge on Safin’s death. Instead, Safin only finds Blofeld’s daughter and wife, Madeleine. Safin kills Blofeld’s wife, but Madeleine fights back. She ends up shooting Safin.
Safin is surprisingly still alive, and Madeleine, in a Michael Myers shock panic, runs to the icy lake. She falls through. But instead of letting her die Safin saves her.
We then flash forward to Madeleine now grown up (Léa Seydoux) — the same Madeleine that Bond ran off with at the end of the 2015 movie “Spectre.”
The opening is beautifully executed by director Cary Joji Fukunaga with tension and gorgeous looks. It’s rare that we open the movie without Bond doing something amazing. This is the first hint that Fukunaga intends to take us to a place different than previous Bond movies.
Bond faithfulists don’t worry, the movie moves quickly into exciting action. Bond and Madeleine navigate through narrow streets in an Italian village to escape Spectre.
This sequence features many of the most famous gadgets and Bond’s Aston Martin car. It is also one of Bond’s best.
Bond is convinced Madeleine has betrayed him when he learns that she’s the daughter Blofeld. It leads Bond to joining Her Majesty’s Secret Service for one final time, as a threat made by Safin could endanger a DNA-killing virus.
Ana de Armas is such a scene-stealer, you’ll wish she was in more of the movie
De Armas plays CIA agent Paloma, who Bond works with when he ends up in Cuba.
It’s an understatement of the truth to say de Armas was meant to be Bond girl. She is not only a striking beauty, but also has the talent and athleticis to amaze the audience. She delivers.
Although her part is short, she makes the most out of it. Her playful performance alongside Craig is one the best parts of the movie and gives the audience an uncommon feel for Bond movies from decades past.
De Armas also plays her character with a bubbliness that’s almost a tease of how she might go about playing her next major role: Marilyn Monroe in the Netflix movie “Blonde.”
The Bond franchise has set itself up with an interesting decision to make going forward
As you may have heard, “No Time to Die” marks the final movie in which Craig will play Bond, so now the question of who will be the next 007 intensify. There is one in this movie. Lashana Lynch plays Nomi, the new 007 since Bond went off-grid.
Lynch doesn’t shy away from the spotlight. Lynch seems to be comfortable playing the role as a secret agent with the most recognizable call number. The Bond producers have found their 007 and not told anyone. Bond producer Barbara Broccoli recently insisted that Bond would always be a man.
However, what does that mean for Lynch and her character, if they choose to name someone else? Is it fair to throw the 007 label at Lynch only to take it away from her? This won’t be the first time you hear of this.
Daniel Craig has a strong performance to mark the end of his Bond career
Craig came on as James Bond with loads of controversy. Many felt that Craig’s blonde hair and strikingly blue eyes were not the right look for the iconic role. Craig ignored the critics and made the role his own. Because of his intense dedication to his films, you have to include him in the conversation.
Even though you knew that he would be leaving, it was still shocking to hear that he had left. But, for his final performance, he did deliver some of the best work he has ever done.