James Bond can't retire, or that's what "No Time to Die" would have you believe about the suave and savvy superspy. Fans are returning to watch the next chapter of this international spy thriller, and it serves as the final watch with actor Daniel Craig playing the Bond character.
Audiences witness a newly retired Bond, vacationing with his love Madeleine (Léa Seydoux), and all is well until explosions literally throw Bond into a new fight for both his life and the fate of billions of people. Just another day on the job for our MI6 retiree. The primary villain is Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek), an innovative and diabolical man who has invented technology so threatening, the CIA enlists the efforts of Bond to see him defeated. With some excellent additions from Bond's past and new faces too, the roster of characters is plenty.
Craig has played the iconic MI6 agent for well over a decade, in five movies to date, and has become associated with the character just as Sean Connery was with his portrayals of Bond. With so many previous films, the question typically asked of sequels or adaptations are "Do I have to watch all of them" or "Do I have to read the books to get it?", and the answer is everyone's favorite "it depends" for "No Time to Die".
Although it doesn't take long for viewers to get the gist of who's who and what role they serve, there are both new and old faces appearing in "No Time to Die". If you've watched all 5 installments you'd have a closer connection to the emotional beats between Bond and others. However, my history of only "Quantum of Solace" and "Skyfall" allowed me to piece together what was necessary to enjoy it.
Notable additions to the cast are, of course, Ana de Armas playing Paloma, a Cuban agent working with CIA who appears only briefly but is stunning in action, Lashana Lynch playing the new 007, and she embodies what an agent of that title has to without being shadowed by Craig. Returning characters engage with Bond very naturally and have the history for it to feel completely believable. We see this in characters like Madeleine, M, Q, Moneypenny, and Felix Leiter.
Without too much setup (or time to breathe), explosions are set off and Bond's covered in dirt and scrapes fighting for his life in Matera, Italy. It's the perfect opening for a story that has momentum from the start.
The standout in this encounter, in a moment when Bond has no obvious plan for backup, is the Bond Car. A force to be reckoned with, Bond's Aston Martin DB5 is absolutely sexy and guardian to some precious cargo. It smoothly holds its own like its driver.
This is a tremendous production that looks great in every setting we visit, and there are a lot. We see chapters of this story take place in Madera, Italy, Jamaica, Norway, Denmark, and London! It's so engaging and right up to the caliber of Bond we expect by this 5th and final film. The placement of Bond in each of these locations brings a viewer in to feel the atmosphere whether it's highlighted in a drive sequence or a shootout, it's like you're living in it. And if what you see doesn't pull you in, what you hear will get the job done.
Billie Eilish showcases her vocal talent with the title song for "No Time to Die". It plays during the opening sequence and it's one of many beautiful tracks that play during the movie. As someone who doesn't always pay attention or focus on the soundtrack, because when it's great it's unnoticeable, I fell in love with all those iconic Bond themes and the music made this a complete theatrical experience. Craig, the cast, and crew all turned it up and delivered something distinct that serves as an excellent farewell to Craig's Agent 007, James Bond.
"No Time to Die" was released in theaters on Friday, October 8th.
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