In this article I will be listing and then explaining things I noticed about the film when I was watching it. At the end I will give my review of it and if I recommend it.
Some background, this is the last film of the Daniel Craig era of James Bond films. This era includes Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, Spectre and now No Time to Die. I believe Daniel Craig was one of the best James Bond behind Sean Connery.
The film was directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga who is known for Beasts of No Nation, Jane Eyre and Sin Nombre. Out of his filmography as a director, I’ve only seen No Time to Die but from this film I get that he is a competent director with some great action and cool shots.
Let’s start with the action since we’ve already begun with that. The action is cool, and I appreciate some of the set pieces and situations Bond is put in. James Bond comes off as a god with a gun in this film, he speeds through enemies with barely a hiccup. However, this breeziness comes at a cost as it lowers the stakes. Watching these scenes, I feel as he is in no danger and this means I’m not invested in what’s happening as I already know what’s going to happen, he will be fine.
This is different in the climax when Bond is getting shot and injured but again the stakes are not there. I believe this is because we don’t understand the danger if he fails, and this toxin gets out. From what I remember I don’t believe we see the toxin actually kill someone. Characters may have said it’s dangerous but that is not enough to persuade us that this is true, so we don’t see any danger if James Bond fails to destroy it. This leads to many of the film’s anticlimaxes.
One big anticlimax was the death off the main villain, Safin, played by Rami Malek. He doesn’t act as an actual threat, more of just an inconvenience. This affects James Bond’s death too as, he just dies from an inconvenience, some random guy, therefore his death feels very anticlimactic.
He just died. Things just happened. Ana de Armas has one scene, and she disappears for the rest of the movie. Safin just lets Bond’s daughter go, just lets it happen. Bond’s best friend, Felix, just dies. Everything just happens and I’m left confused at how I should feel.
The script just needs more polishing. The story does have some cool and compelling elements in it such as the backstory of the characters, mainly James Bond, his girlfriend and child. It was a great idea as we have never seen James Bond deal with a child or a large personal problem. It could have had some major personal stakes to it which could have elevated it above many previous James Bond films.
If I was tasked to write this movie, I’d probably focus on James Bonds relationship with his friends and family. I think for James Bonds first onscreen death, I’d think it’d be fitting if he died not saving the world but giving his life for a few people he loves. I think that’s powerful.
I am a massive pessimist and incredibly cynical so other than all the negatives, it is a well-made movie. It entertains. It tests the heart. It’s worth the watch to see how the Daniel Craig’s James Bond ends. It’s just great to see Daniel Craig again.