This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Ruff’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
I couldn't have been more excited about Ana De Armas being the new Bond girl. When she shows up she explodes onto the screen. Her scene with Craig is electric and exciting. Definitely my favorite part of the movie. After that scene there is another 1.5 hours of movie to go and unfortunately Ana De Armas is not the new Bond girl because she doesn't show up again at all. This was a mistake. Picking up minutes after the end of Spectre didn't work either. It's been 6 years since that movie came out; that movie was terrible and I never want to watch it again; why would they start their movie as if Spectre was fresh in our minds? This left me completely cold to the Lea Sedoux romantic arc and the end was supposed to pull on my heartstrings and I didn't feel a thing. I'm an easy mark when it comes to crying at movies so if your emotional manipulation doesn't work on me then you really fucked it up. Finally 2.5 hours is just way too long for a Bond movie. 1.5 is ideal, would've been ok stretching to 2 since this is Craig's swan song, but I felt every minute of those last 1.5 hours. As mentioned above the Ana De Armas scene is excellent and flew by but we still had an excruciatingly long time to go after that that should've been cut down significantly.
Ok that paragraph sounds super complainy like I hated this but I definitely didn't. This checks all the Bond boxes for me. I'm going to do another review where I do my ranking based on Bond tropes I love and I expect this to be very high. The Craig Bonds have had some of the highest (Skyfall, Casino Royale) and lowest (Quantum of Solace, Spectre) of the franchise and No Time to Die fits firmly right in the middle of those for me, with a slight lean toward the higher side. I had an awesome time at the theater watching this with an audience and my buddy next to me. It leans a little far to the emotional side for my liking (I like my Bond carefree) but a lot of it works anyway and the action setpieces are great. Did I mention how good the Ana De Armas scene is? We have car chases, a tricked out Aston Martin doing cool shit, boat explosions, missile explosions, these are all good things. Fukunaga gets some incredible shots, those missiles breaking up over the island as Bond looks up at them is stunning.
I think I've been craving this new Bond for so long that I put it on a pedestal and it was impossible to live up to my expectations. If it had come out closer to Spectre my expectations would have been lower since that movie is shit and I probably would've had less complaints. I'm going with 3.5 for right now but after I do my tropes review I could see it going up to 4. Either way its a recommend for me. If you've ever enjoyed a Bond film then you'll enjoy this one too.