Nearly fifteen years after the release of Casino Royale, Daniel Craig gave his final performance as the famous 007 this October. With the release of No Time To Die, Craig surpassed Pierce Brosnan, achieving the second most Bond appearances of any actor in franchise history. This fifth appearance in that role solidified himself as one of the greatest actors to assume the time-honored role. The film follows Bond as he is called out of retirement by his friends at MI6 to help stop the criminal mastermind Safin, played by Rami Malek, from employing a stolen bioweapon to wreak worldwide chaos. The following article contains spoilers.
Being his last film, it was fitting that No Time To Die hit the mark in almost every category. The film maintained all of the fan-favorite clichés, from the gun barrel POV shot, to an abundance of beautiful women, to the classic line “shaken, not stirred,” but nevertheless looked to the future of the franchise with optimism.
Refreshingly, No Time To Die set itself apart from 007 films of the past in its depiction and representation of female characters. In contrast to many “Bond girls,” Léa Seydoux’s performance as Bond’s beloved, Madeleine Swann, brought the multidimensionality of the character to life. The film certainly depicted her as much more to her than just a pretty face. She asserted herself as both a self-sufficient woman and as a loving partner.
While there is still much speculation as to who could be the next 007 (names such as Tom Hardy and Idris Elba have arisen), No Time To Die heavily implied MI6 Agent Nomi, played by Lashana Lynch, as the frontrunner, a controversial decision given Bond’s history as the model British man. Such an unprecedented move could be exactly what is needed at this critical junction to rejuvenate the nearly sixty-year-old franchise. Modern audiences are ready for a lead female character and tired of the hypersexualization of women in action films. Lynch’s stellar performance proved this could indeed be a possibility for future Bond films, as she quickly developed a character loved by viewers. Creating a strong, independent female character who is also multifaceted and relatable has proven a challenge for the film industry in recent years, but No Time To Die accomplished it in Madeleine, Nomi, and in a brief appearance by CIA agent Paloma, played by Ana de Armas.
For all its strengths, the movie’s chief flaw was its lack of a significant narrative. The first half of the film saw the complete demise of Spectre, the crime syndicate at the center of most of the Craig series. Leaving the film with one simple villain detracted from the mystery and suspense of typical spy thrillers; however, this was probably a wise decision, as it allowed the story to focus on Bond’s personal life, specifically his relationship with Madeleine and their child together.
The final moments of the film were surely a disappointment for those hoping for a fairytale ending, when Bond, electing to stay on the island alone to ensure the destruction of the bioweapon factory, met a fiery demise. In keeping with his character, it was the only realistic way to bring an end to the saga. Bond clearly cannot stay in retirement for long, and there was no better illustration of his unwavering selflessness than a selfsacrifice for the greater good. No Time To Die was a well-deserved swan song for Daniel Craig and neatly wrapped up the fifteen-year-long pentalogy while planting new seeds to entice 007 fans for years to come.
No Time To Die is currently playing in theaters