A Bond movie like no other

A sobering end Craig’s tenure as 007


Andrew Thompson

My first thought upon exiting the theater: the latest Bond movie is different from the twenty-four preceding films. To keep this piece spoiler free, I will merely say that “No Time to Die” introduced elements never before seen in the film franchise. This all promises an exciting, engaging, sobering movie; indeed, I felt somber walking back to the Washington and Lee University campus.

The action throughout the film is excellent, even if there are a few drawn-out periods of plot development. The opening scene—which details the falling-out between Bond and Madeleine Swann—is thrilling but perhaps a little too long; “No Time to Die” is actually the longest James Bond picture at two hours and 45minutes.

Further, the beginning scenes create the unfortunate sense of catching up, as if the prior movie left too much unsaid. The crux of the film takes place five years after the introduction, picking up during Bond’s peaceful retirement in Jamaica. This is a massive jump rare among other movies in the franchise (“GoldenEye” being the sole exception). In a way I was reminded of the frenetic beginning of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” although “No Time to Die” accomplishes as much in a more suave manner. 

However, the opening effectively sets up the ensuing dénouement, ensuring that the tension needed to push the film forward is present and the plot is easy to follow. As is the norm, James Bond lacks sympathy from his allies; regardless, the action drives them all together. The characters provide all one could want in a super-spy movie, especially Rami Malek’s chillingly creepy portrayal of villain Lyutsifer Safin. Nearly every character from the Craig movies is mentioned in some way, helping to deliver an engaging, complex film. All in all, “No Time to Die ” provided closure, although may leave questions lingering for Bond fans.

Box office numbers suggest a well-received movie. It logged a record $29 million weekend opening in the UK. Numbers for the United States opening weekend fell below expectations, but still reached the perfectly healthy level of $56 million. Such figures may also be affected by continued hesitancy to patronize movie theaters amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“No Time to Die” garnered a score of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes and 7.6/10 on IMDb. Overall, people seem satisfied with this conclusion to Daniel Craig’s tenure as 007. I felt happy with the film as well–it is definitely worth a watch whether one is a Bond fan or not. It may not be the greatest Bond movie (my personal favorite is “Goldfinger”), but it is certainly a thrilling finale nonetheless.