By Seth Lukas Hynes
No Time To Die
Starring Daniel Craig, Léa Seydoux and Rami Malek
No Time To Die is an engaging, well-directed but overstuffed send-off for Daniel Craig’s version of James Bond.
A retired Bond (Craig) is pulled back into service to secure a deadly superweapon.
No Time To Die is, in many respects, a perfect distillation of classic Bond tropes.
The dialogue is self-aware and quippy (no doubt thanks to comedy-focused co-writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge) without being trite. The gadgets are fun and fanciful without being ridiculous. The female characters are gorgeous but proactive and not overtly objectified; Ana de Armas has a fantastic single set-piece as an eager, almost bubbly young agent who proves ultra-capable in a fight.
Craig is still formidable and suave as Bond, and has great chemistry with franchise mainstays Q (Ben Whishaw), M (Ralph Fiennes) and Moneypenny (Naomie Harris), along with the magnetic new 007 (Lashana Lynch). The plot has clear dramatic and personal motivators in the Heracles superweapon and Bond’s conflicted love for Madeleine (Léa Seydoux), and the action sequences are tense, exciting and easy to follow, so the pacing feels quicker and lighter than the 163-minute run-time would suggest.
However, the plot also has an overcomplicated web of conspirators and some ham-fisted tie-ins to the previous Craig Bond films. Bland Bond villains are rare, and Safin (Rami Malek), No Time To Die’s main antagonist, is bland and severely underdeveloped.
No Time To Die is a classy, enthralling swansong for the current Bond series, but lacks focus and a memorable villain.
– Seth Lukas Hynes