No Time to Die

No Time to Die ★★★★½

As hyperbolic as it may sound to declare the Cary Joji Fukunaga's "No Time to Die" the best James Bond film in 52 years, Cary Cary Joji Fukunaga's "No Time to Die" may just be the best James Bond in 52 years. Layering story, character, action, resonant emotion, and ties to both what has come before and what may come in the future, the secret agent epic lands thrillingly and instantly as one the franchise's greats.

Beginning with a flashback that puts much of its narrative machinery in motion, "No Time to Die" wastes no time in pulling tight the cinematic tension. From there, the story launches into a tale of madmen, large-scale threats, and a geo-political theater in need of defending by certain semi-covert agencies.

"No Time to Die" offers a story that flows with expected Bond-movie story beats. These are engaging in and of themselves, but the story's focus on its characters and their relationships make that story stand out. Bonds come full-circle, the past is reflected upon, and the future is introduced both in the sense of this particular film and the canon in its entirety.

The film moves with speed and grace, slowing for its necessary character moments and propelling into riveting stretches of action. Visually, the audience is given a muted palette with real-world richness and sleek bursts of natural color and contrast. The cast , memorably and skillfully, communicates the script's heroic humanity, girding the film's outsized passions and politics with recognizable soul and entertaining personality.

Daniel Craig closes out a remarkably strong run as James Bond with a film that is full of every element necessary to end on the highest of notes. "No Time to Die" is neatly crafted and rivetingly communicated. Its story layers Bondisms with reflective moments and forward-thinking statements while allowing its characters to live fulfilling celluloid existences. It is a dynamite experience that provides sizzling work from all involved.

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