By: Amanda Guarragi
After a very long wait for Daniel Craig’s final Bond outing, it is finally here. As someone who is a casual Bond fan, No Time To Die felt like a culmination of all his storylines from previous films. That means they rehashed storylines to make this finale feel big. At the end of this movie, the question that I asked myself was this: Why did we need a send off to this particular actor in this role, when there have been many Bond’s before him with no concrete ending to their story?
After a decade of having Daniel Craig as James Bond, there’s definitely an appreciation for how he reinvented the character. He was more rugged and rough around the edges than the others. He got his hands dirty, while still remaining suave and charming. Craig was a great Bond, but the character has really been exhausted. The only way Bond can appeal to general audiences is if there is an engaging story accompanied by the Bond tropes, and that is what was lacking in No Time To Die. The script was the main issue because of how convoluted it was. There were too many players in this game and it wasn’t as fleshed out as it should have been.
We have James Bond (Daniel Craig) enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica after leaving active service. However, his peace is short-lived as his old CIA friend, Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright), shows up and asks for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond on the trail of a mysterious villain who’s armed with a dangerous new technology. This synopsis seems simple and straightforward, right? Well, the addition of many side characters and a new 007 (Lashana Lynch), brings this story into messy territory.
For many people, it might seem like the writers were focused on making women the central focus to a Bond film. Bond retired and they needed a new 007, isn’t that how jobs work? They made this final instalment feel like one last ride for Craig, and his Bond acted like an old veteran coming back to the game. His chemistry with Lashana Lynch was great and they fed off of each other quite well. It would have been better to get a team up of just them for two hours. The one thing that disappointed me the most was the writing for Ana de Armas’ character. She was in it for five minutes, in a revealing dress, looking all doe-eyed and naive. Yes, she had a great action scene, but was it worth it to waste her in such a minor role in a very long movie?
The other reason the script did not sit right with me was the humour. We know that Phoebe Waller-Bridge worked on this script and her sense of humour definitely came through. But, it did not work for a Bond film. Bond has never had dumb, awkward jokes or weirdly placed punchlines. Bond has always been dry, sarcastic, and he has a quick wit. That is what was missing in this movie. After five decades, you can’t change the character now to be a fun, upbeat, action film. It’s not him. They attempted to tie everything together in a nice little bow, while still revamping the franchise, in the biggest way possible.
No Time To Die suffered because of the pacing of this film. It moved extremely slow and was overstuffed with side characters that carried no substance. At times this film just felt hollow because they do not know what to do with the character anymore. The ending was also quite underwhelming because it just did not make sense for a Bond film. The action scenes were mediocre and it took awhile to get to them. There needs to be a perfect balance of dialogue and action. The takeaway is that Craig is one of the best Bonds in the franchise, even though his run of films weren’t the greatest.