There was a lot to try to digest while walking into No Time to Die, despite having an extra amount of time to prepare for the film (it was one of the first to delay its release at the beginning of the COVID pandemic). It would be the end of the Daniel Craig era, the only actor who truly could threaten Connery as the best Bond (as of this writing, I have seen just under half of the films in the franchise).
Well, by the end of the 2 ½ plus hour film (the longest 007 film to date), there was even more to digest.
I will tread lightly to avoid spoilers.
Picking up almost exactly where we left off at the end of 2015’s Spectre, Bond (Daniel Craig) has retired from active service and settled down with Madeleine (Lea Seydoux), both trying their hardest to let go of the past. Even so, it is evident that Madeleine is still keeping secrets (“We all have secrets. We just haven’t got to yours yet.”)
Bond soon gets a visit from his old buddy Felix (Jeffrey Wright, whose voice is now more recognizable if you have been keeping up with the MCU on Disney+). A secret weapon (more on that in a bit) from MI6 has gotten into the hands of a new threat named Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek).
There are some other familiar faces, including Miss Moneypenny (Naomi Harris), M (Ralph Fiennes), Q (Ben Whishaw), and the main villain of the last film, Blofeld (Christoph Waltz). The two main newbies include the newly named 007 Nomi (Lashana Lynch) and a new agent named Paloma (Ana De Armas).
As to be expected, the film has some well choreographed action scenes, a decent theme song (by Billie Ellish), well placed puns, and women in revealing attire (mainly De Armas). Still, there are some sharp turns (so to speak) that this film takes that I for one did not see coming. MINOR SPOILER: As good as de Armas is in her action scene, it is the only part of the film she is in.
There are also two big events (I would not go so far as to call them plot twists) that I would never expect in a James Bond film, both of which left me rather flabbergasted.
The problem I feel I had with this film (as with many Bond films) is that of the Macguffin. It is true a good amount of the franchise has plots that are hard to detangle (even Goldfinger, the unquestionable blueprint for all Bond films, leaves me with questions at the end, despite viewing it many times). No Time to Die deals mainly with nanobot technology, something I am always hesitant to go along with in film. Even in a franchise that askes us to believe in some pretty impossible things, I feel that nanobots is still rather out of place for a Bond film.
Parents, like all the films in the franchise, this one is a solid PG-13. There is of course the fact that Bond will have his “way” with at least one girl in the film (which never really appeals to kids under the age of 11 or so), but there is no real nudity in the film (other than the aforementioned revealing dress worn by the Ana De Armas character). There is the standard PG-13 violence, as well as some swearing (one F bomb that I remember hearing). If they have seen any of the Daniel Craig films (or Brosnan ones, for that matter), they will be fine here. Middle school and above.
There are some really touching moments as well in the last half hour or so of the film, proving how great an actor Craig really is. Consider a moment where is introducing two characters to another, coming to his own realization of what they mean to him. It is very brief, but very affective.
While there is no post credit scene, we do get the assurance that this character will return. I have no real prediction of who will be the next Bond (I am sure many will disagree with the final pick at first, as they originally did with Daniel Craig). What I do know is that Daniel Craig has set a bar that is higher than any actor before him (minus Connery) did.
It is as true a swan song as one could expect.