No Time to Die

No Time to Die ★★★★

As someone who was baptized in Bond through the Daniel Craig films, No Time to Die is the end of an era as only this era could have ended. In the tradition of Craig's films going from classic to completely forgettable and back and forth twice during his tenure this twenty-fifth entry in the franchise thankfully keeps the pattern intact as Cary Fukunaga's film - with a screenplay by regular Bond scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade with punch-ups from Phoebe Waller-Bridge - matches both the grandiosity expected from the franchise overall as well as the grittiness baked into Craig's run of features. Sure, the archetypes and familiar conventions are all present - the deformed antagonist, the double cross, the rookie agent, and the women - but each of these familiar tropes are enacted not just to fill those familiar roles, but to alter the trajectory of each in order to alter the expectations of these things in future iterations of 007's story. Well, except for maybe the deformed antagonist as Rami Malek's Lyutsifer Safin exists solely for the purposes of his grandstanding in the third act that positions Bond where he needs to be in order for Craig's version of the character to meet his inevitable conclusion, but alas...we can't all be Raoul Silva.

Linus Sandgren's cinematography challenges even the great Roger Deakins as No Time to Die is jaw-droppingly gorgeous in both its character moments and action sequences with the incomparable Ana de Armas and the domineering Lashana Lynch making great impressions and appropriately leaving us wanting more. Christoph Waltz does more in his ten minutes here than he did in the entirety of Spectre while major props to the casting director for giving Billy Magnussen a role he likely wasn't the first choice for, but is perfect for and completely decimates.

I talked more in-depth about No Time to Die with screenwriter Graham Gordy. Watch it here: youtu.be/EH6EpOiDN4k