The Daniel Craig 007 movies have been up and down, with the even-numbered films being the worst (especially Spectre). Fortunately, Craig returns for a fifth film – No Time to Die (2021) directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga – which lives up to this expectation. This odd-numbered film is excellent, and it sends its Bond off in a magnificent way.
Bond has retired and is living a peaceful existence in Jamaica. Felix (Jeffrey Wright), an old friend who works for the CIA, shows up and requests Bond’s specific set of skills. Once he’s back in the game, Bond finds it impossible to turn away, as the stakes increase for all involved.
Craig is my Bond. I managed to never really see any of the other Bond movies in their entirety, and thus it was Daniel Craig and Casino Royale (2006) that pulled me in. There is a pathos that Craig’s Bond has always had that I never felt in the other actors or portrayals. This 007 feels much more human, and that quality is exemplified in this film. Every choice Bond makes is led by a lot of emotion. His connection to characters throughout the franchise has been clear, and no one feels like fodder. I expect to get revved up watching a spy movie, but I never expected to cry watching them.
The cast in this film is excellent of course, with Léa Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, and Rami Malek in major roles and Wright, Billy Magnussen, Christoph Waltz, and Ana de Armas in smaller ones. I wish de Armas had more screen time, as her character makes quite the impact right away. Her action sequence is one of my favorites in the film, as there is a sense of fun that is often lacking.
Overall, the action sequences in the film are quite engaging. From chases to shoot-outs to the Bond-expected gadgets, this film delivers on that front completely. As the story comes to a head in the third act, so does the intrigue and the emotion. One of my favorite scenes takes place in the woods in some very dense fog. Bond is determined and gets quite creative with how he takes out his opposition.
No Time to Die is the perfect finale for Craig’s Bond and was totally worth the wait. I enjoyed this film so much I am tempted to actually rewatch Spectre (2015), a movie I really didn’t like at all. If only there was a way to just enjoy the three odd number films…but as Spectre added much to the lore that is built into this finale it, would be hard to revisit them all without it. No Time to Die earns the Must See rating for fans of the franchise.