rylan_reviews’s review published on Letterboxd:
“We all have our secrets. We just didn’t get to yours yet.” ✅
Best Scene: Cuba Chase
No Time to Die is finally here and it has a lot to unpack. Right off the bat, it is probably the most emotional Bond film. The character relationships are front and center, allowing for Madeline Swann (Lea Seydoux) in particular to get a lot more development. Her relationship with Bond is arguably the most important part of this film and they got it right. Daniel Craig was just fantastic too. He is great in the action and you can tell that he is actually into the role once again. Craig’s Bond is a character that I’ve gotten attached to over the years and his final arc hit the right notes. The supporting cast is pretty awesome as well. I adore Ralph Fiennes, Ben Wishaw, Naomie Harris, and Roy Kinnear as the MI6 regulars so I wasn’t disappointed in their amount of screentime. Seeing their relationships grow and solidify genuinely made me happy. Jeffery Wright and Christoph Waltz return as well. Wright added nice patches of humor to the film, he is the best Felix Leiter. All I will say about Waltz is that he was miles better here compared to Spectre. Lastly, Lashanna Lynch was also fantastic. I was worried due to all the nonsense about that character behind the scenes but she was a great addition.
The film also has great successes on the technical level. Cary Joji Fukunaga knows how to make a film. The cinematography is incredible. Some memorable shots are the best of the year. Also, when it comes to the action, it was very entertaining too. The action wasn’t anything super different but it was fun when it happened. The film was driven more by the characters than the action spectacle. I also loved the Gunbarrel, score, opening credits, and theme song. I didn't listen to the Billie Eilish song until today in the theater. Another awesome aspect came to the callbacks to the other Bond films. In my opinion, to get the most out of this film you needed to see all 24 prior films. The easter eggs were phenomenal and they elevated the experience. The movie was an enjoyable time but I need to be fair and mention the flaws.
I mentioned this is a more character-based film and that works against this film. Ana De Armas kills it but she is barely in the film. Her sequence was my favorite in the film but that is at the hour mark in a three-hour movie. I wanted more of her! Everything leading up to Bond returning to London was excellent. The second act barely had any action which felt weird to me. I love the characters but the script isn't good enough to warrant being light on action. Skyfall and Casino Royale earn their runtimes and the pacing is a lot stronger. The third act is a completely separate beast though. Rami Malek as Safin was in that part the most and he was a mediocre villain. He wasn't in the movie that much and he didn't bring anything new to the table. The ending itself felt somewhat contrived to me. It is going to be controversial though it fundamentally needs to be built up better. The intensity was lacking and the flow to the destination could have been stronger. Nonetheless, I cried the hardest I have in a long time watching a movie. No spoilers yet I think the ending proved to me how important this franchise has been in my life. No Time to Die has its flaws though this gives some finality. It takes risks and it feels like the first concrete ending to an era of the Bond franchise.
Thank you, Daniel Craig. Your character made a mark on my life like nobody else.