Daniel Craig started playing James Bond in 2006 with Casino Royale. The first MCU film, Iron Man, was released in 2008. Craig’s stint as Bond was the first where the franchise tried to make an overarching story. Five films over 15 years is a long time to remember a story. In preparation for No Time To Die, I re-watched Skyfall and read the plot summaries for all of Craig’s films. I was still lost with much of the tie-in. I think it is a good direction for these films to head, but it needs a lot of work.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, of Fleabag fame, was brought in to help modernize Bond away from the gratuitous womanizing. There are a handful of strong females. Moneypenny, Naomie Harris, is back but, not in the field where she should be; a big miss. Nomi, Lashana Lynch, is a new black female field agent, who really should have been Moneypenny based on the events of Skyfall. Ana de Armas shares the screen with Craig again, Knives Out being their other film together, as a simultaneous experienced and inexperienced agent who leaves the film too soon as Paloma. Are you getting lost in the names already? This is the problem with trying to tie all the Bond films together, there are dozens of characters in each film.
I do not like Rami Malek, much like his prosthetic teeth in Bohemian Rhapsody, he leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The casting choice with Craig, Léa Seydoux, and Rami Malek does not make sense. Seydoux, Madeleine, is young enough to be Bond’s daughter but is his main love interest. She is saved by a grown Lyutsifer Safin, Malek, as a child. Craig was born in 1968, Seydoux in 1985, and Malek in 1981. It is distracting to have the casting this wrong.
I am happy to see that a few gadgets have made their way back into the film via Q. There is much less on-screen typing in No Time To Die than Skyfall. The DB5 also makes a return. Bioweapons are the focus of the film and fit into a current film very well. We travel to several locations around the globe that are stunning on camera and feel more like the James Bond of yore.
Bond films are a staple of the film industry. This one was delayed for a long time due to Covid. It is a fitting sendoff for Daniel Craig’s time as James Bond. The franchise has started down a new path into a more modern world. It had some missteps along the way and needs a more unified vision to match what other franchises have done in recent years. I enjoyed this bond film like most others and will soon forget the dozens of characters' names and most of the plot elements and that is ok.