No Time to Die

No Time to Die ★★★★★

'No Time to Die' is the best 007 film ever made.

From the opening scene the film feels different, character focused and diving far deeper (see what I did) into Bond and Dr. Swann than Mendes ever did in 'Spectre'. Director Cary Joji Fukunaga improves upon the humor and charm while adding far more gravitas and grit to nearly every captivating scene in the film. The mask in the opening isn't outright scary but the performance behind it is rather chilling albeit empathetic.

'No Time to Die' owes 'Casino Royale' everything, it set the tone for Craig's series as whole with a more violent Bond, leaving a trail of death behind him. Vesper remains an emotional scar on Bond, never really willing to trust again. I'm not going to get into the plot too much in this review because the film just premiered but I could not be happier with the direction they chose to take the film. Bringing back Felix Leiter, Blofeld and Madeline whom was written far better than in 'Spectre', 'No Time to Die' almost feels like a 007 all-star roster for Craig's final film.

It certainly helps that I saw this in a theater but the action, with every bullet, packs a brutal punch. The stunts are masterful, the gadgets a wonderful mix of old and new and each scene is filmed so intimately alongside Bond on his last mission. The opening fight itself may very well have been the best of the film but that's not to say any of the action later is lacking, it's all superb. The Spectre magnets scene was especially impressive. The camera work and cinematography are really only second to 'Skyfall'. The film is gorgeous.

The end credits music is brilliant. The perfect song to bring back from a previous Bond film. Hans Zimmer's score is immaculate, always complimenting the on screen action or dialogue. Billie Eilish's opening credits song is beautiful and haunting and works its way into the films actual score in all the right moments.

Craig himself gives his best performance, his situation is familiar but the emotion he shows is unmatched in a Bond film prior. Léa Seydoux is working with far better writing and as a result I enjoyed her character much, much more. Christoph Waltz was rather underused I thought, but Rami Malek is so frighteningly reserved, empathetic and cold all at the same time that I got over that very quickly. Lashana Lynch is really good as the other 00 agent, with Craig leaving I kind of wish they'd just make her the next lead though I know that's nothing more than a wish. I love Jeffrey Wright as Felix. Billy Magnussen is such a little prick in this but he plays it great. Ana de Armas is amazing, sexy and capable and shares some of the best scenes in the film with Bond.

I didn't expect for 'No Time to Die' to pack such emotion. I for sure cried, told myself Now you'll never see me cry, and blinked for what felt like the first time during the captivating runtime. The film is 2 hours and 45 minutes long. The story mellows out for maybe 30 minutes in the middle so I felt it but I loved nearly every minute of the heartbreak, action and adventure.

The writing is top notch, the dialogue is quick and heartfelt, Bond's actions stay true to his roots without any of the misogyny and problematic tropes, but that's emblematic of Craig's Bond in general mostly. They drop the f-word for the first time I think. That was neat nor out of place. The only plot point I got a little lost on was Safin's endgame but it never took away from the experience. The film takes a stance on it's racist past with a very quotable scene and treats it's characters with a lot of love.

007 Ranked

I'll say it again, 'No Time to Die' is the best final film any Bond actor has gotten and I'd argue the best Bond film ever made.

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