No Time To Die was finally released in the United States on October 8, 2021, and marked Daniel Craig’s final contribution to the long-running series of James Bond. After three release date changes due to COVID-19, the highly anticipated movie was well-received by both critics and fans despite a box office opening slightly worse than expected due to continuing COVID concerns.
The film caps off the story arc which began in Craig’s first Bond movie Casino Royale. From the first installment, it was clear that we are encountering a darker and more modern James Bond. Royale opens in black and white with the two kills that earned Bond his 00-status, vividly depicting the events that the previous iterations of Bond had only alluded to. This scene included his first kill—a messy affair in a bathroom in Pakistan—along with his second, cleaner assassination of Section Chief Dryden. Immediately the audience is introduced to a grittier and more realistic version of the beloved character.
The 25th Bond movie begins with Madeline Swann, the love interest played by French actress Léa Seydoux introduced in the previous title, Spectre. Swann remains Bond’s love interest in No Time To Die as her past within the organization of SPECTRE begins to catch up with her. Joining Seydoux are Lashana Lynch playing Nomi, a double-0 who becomes Bond’s rival after he leaves the Queen’s service, and Naomie Harris reprising her role as the iconic Miss Moneypenny. Although it would have been nice to see more of Harris’ modern take on the classic character, the film is not lacking in strong female characters; my personal favorite being Cuban operative Paloma played by the brilliant Ana de Armas.
The 10-minute sequence that follows Paloma and Bond as they infiltrate a SPECTRE meeting in Cuba was the stand-out portion of the movie. Ana de Armas brings a lively energy to the screen and her chemistry with Daniel Craig made the whole sequence delightful to watch. After the success of Knives Out, it was a pleasure to see the two opposite each other again. The representation of women of color in this film is phenomenal and these four roles are refreshing interpretations of a modern Bond girl. Gone are the one-dimensional love interests who fall at Bond’s feet, replaced by the likable and fleshed-out female characters we see in No Time to Die.
The movie also features the fun and exciting action that audiences have come to expect from a Bond movie, including an epic car chase. In all, the action is diverse and suspenseful with each scene raising the stakes as Bond fights to protect his country and those he loves. The cinematography of these action sequences renders them even more enjoyable, particularly during a scene where the audience follows Bond up a stairwell as a seemingly endless amount of enemies rush in from every floor to confront him. In terms of entertaining fight scenes, the film leaves little to be desired.No Time to Die sets out to provide a thrilling conclusion to the Daniel Craig era of Bond and because of this, the movie occasionally diverts from what those familiar with the series may anticipate. Unlike previous installments in the franchise that felt almost like stand-alone films, No Time to Die picks up the loose ends left by the four previous Daniel Craig movies and attempts to tie them together and wrap up Daniel Craig’s Bonds story once and for all. The film leans into its nature of being a sequel and the Bond we see is very much the same one we left in Spectre. The film’s dissimilar, slightly discombobulated, and bleaker structure was unsatisfying to some loyal fans of the James Bond formula, but No Time to Die sends off the latest iteration of James Bond with an exceptional and enjoyable finale.